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2 Nigerian Soldiers of Unifil Killed, Ii Wounded in Clash Between Christian Forces and Lebanese Army

March 17, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

— Two Nigerian soldiers of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), one of them an officer, were killed today and II others were wounded in a heavy exchange of artillery and tank gun fire between Maj. Saad Haddad’s Christian forces in south Lebanon and Lebanese army regulars who took up positions in Kantara village in the central sector of the front last week.

According to UNIFIL, two Lebanese soldiers were also wounded. Haddad’s group claimed the 30 Lebanese troops who moved into the southern region were harassing villagers for alleged collaboration with the Christian forces and with Israel which supports Haddad’s militia. Haddad accused UNIFIL soldiers of acting in concert with the Lebanese.

Haddad views the southward movement of the Beirut-controlled Lebanese army as a threat to his authority and warned that he would shell them if they did not retire. Israel said yesterday that it was maintaining a close watch on the situation in south Lebanon after reports from the region that the Beirut troops were actually Syrians in Lebanese army uniforms. Israel, meanwhile, denied a Beirut report that its artillery had joined in the shelling of the Lebanese force.

(At the United Nations in New York, UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim asked the Security Council today to “meet in urgent consultations” on the latest clashes in south Lebanon. According to a statement by a UN spokesman, Waldheim learned “with shock and sorrow” of the death of the two Nigerian soldiers and the wounding of II others and “has been in touch with all those who may be able to bring influence to bear on the situation. “The statement added that Waldheim “deplores this tragic development which is an affront not only to UNIFIL but also to the authority of the Security Council.”)

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