KATHMANDU, Jan 9: Nepal Army (NA) has asked its personnel deployed under the United Nations Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) to take necessary security precautions after Iran fired nearly two dozen ballistic missiles in US military bases in Iraq early Wednesday in retaliation for the killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani by the US on January 3.
Altogether 77 NA personnel under the command of a lieutenant colonel are deputed in UN missions in Irbil and Kirkuk cities of Iraq. They are working in the Guard Unit with various responsibilities including escorting the UN VVIPs and other staffers.
NA Spokesperson Brigadier General Bigyan Dev Pandey said all NA personnel working under UNAMI are safe. “They have been advised to take necessary precautions for their safety,” he said.
Besides those in Iraq, NA has also directed its personnel deputed in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria to exercise security precautions. These army units have been asked to constantly monitor the situation and remain in contact with the Mission Headquarters and NA’s Directorate of Peace Keeping Operations.
In a retaliatory action against the killing of Iran’s Major General Soleimani in Baghdad Airport on January 3 in a US drone attack, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) fired ballistic missiles in US military bases in Irbil and al Asad on Wednesday.
Although the details of casualties of Wednesday’s attack are not yet known, the threats and counter threats of further attacks from the top leaders of both Iran and the US have sparked alarm across Nepal since about 1.5 million Nepalis are working in various Gulf countries.
Spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) Bharat Raj Paudyal said they are in close contact with the Nepali embassies in the Gulf region and are constantly assessing evolving security situation there. “We are constantly taking updates on the Nepalis working in the Middle East,” he said.
The government has also advised Nepali nationals working in these countries to remain in touch with the respective Nepali embassies.