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UN Troops Return Fire in S. Leone

April 10, 2000

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ U.N. peacekeepers came under fire for two hours at a regional headquarters in Sierra Leone, the first attack of its kind on the operation, a U.N. spokesman said Monday.

The peacekeepers returned fire, but no casualties were reported and no arrests were made. Saturday night’s firefight took place at the headquarters of the Ghanian platoon in the eastern city of Kanema, spokesman David Wimhurst said.

The U.N. mission was investigating the incident, which was the first of its kind since U.N. peacekeepers were deployed to Sierra Leone in December to monitor a cease-fire that ended eight years of civil war.

Rebel factions have forcibly disarmed peacekeepers and have prevented them from deploying, U.N. officials said, but this is the first gunbattle.

Despite the truce, signed in July, fighting has continued intermittently among various rebel factions, and rebel fighters continue to kill, maim and abduct civilians, U.N. and human rights groups say.

Also on Saturday, an advance team of 110 Jordanian peacekeepers arrived in Sierra Leone. The full battalion is expected next month, Wimhurst said.

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