UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed his outrage over rockets found in a UN-administered school in Gaza, calling for a full review of the incident which he said could turn schools into “potential military targets” and endanger lives of innocent children.
Rockets, found in a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) school in Gaza subsequently went missing. Ban demanded that militants groups, who are responsible must stop such actions and should be held accountable for endangering the lives of civilians.
The Secretary-General is “alarmed to hear that rockets were placed in an UNRWA school in Gaza and that subsequently these have gone missing. He expresses his outrage, and regret, at the placing of weapons in a UN-administered school,” a statement issued by his spokesperson said.
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Ban has directed the UN Department of Safety and Security (DSS) and the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) to immediately develop and implement an effective security plan for the safe and secure handling of any weapons discovered in UN premises. He also directed UNMAS to immediately deploy personnel with expertise to deal with this situation.
Ban said by placing weapons in schools, “those responsible are turning schools into potential military targets, and endangering the lives of innocent children, UN employees working in such facilities, and anyone using the UN schools as shelter”. He called on all of those with influence over militant groups to send an “unmistakable message that this is unacceptable”.
The Secretary-General noted that such conduct is inconsistent with UN Security Council resolution that calls for the prevention of arms smuggling. Ban has called for a full review of the incidents.
“The United Nations is taking concerted action to increase its vigilance in preventing such episodes from happening again,” the statement said.