PH to file complaint vs Undof commander

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THE Philippines will file a complaint against the commander of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (Undof) in the Golan Heights who endangered the lives of Filipino peacekeepers during a recent standoff against a Syrian rebel group.

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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday confirmed that it has discussed the issue with the UN.

Charles Jose, Foreign Affairs spokesman, explained that although this is a military matter, the DFA will file a complaint at the UN headquarters in New York.

“What we can say is that [the]DFA, in coordination with the Department of National Defense and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), is conducting consultations with the UN on this matter,” Jose said.

“Everything that needs to be coordinated, we are doing it. The content, tone, everything. We are doing the coordination,” he added.

The official said a request for the investigation of Undof commander Gen. Iqbal Singh Singha will be tackled during the consultations.

Jose noted that AFP chief Pio Catapang has lost confidence in the Undof commander.

Catapang said Singha twice ordered the Filipino peacekeepers locked in a standoff with Syrian rebels to surrender their firearms and raise a white flag for the safety of 44 Fijian peacekeepers held hostage by the rebels.

But the Philippine troops defied the commander’s order.

The UN peacekeepers came under attack when the the Syrian rebels overran the Quneitra crossing in the de facto border between Syrian- and Israel-controlled parts of the Golan Heights.

The Philippine government earlier said it will pull out Filipino troops from the Golan Heights when their tour of duty ends in October this year.

There are 331 Filipino soldiers in the Golan Heights, part of 1,223 peacekeepers from Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal and the Netherlands.

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