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UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council on Friday condemned "in the strongest terms" the deadly attacks on UN peacekeepers in Cote d'Ivoire, in which seven peacekeepers were killed while trying to protect civilians in danger near the border with neighboring Liberia.
"The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the attack by armed elements on a United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) patrol in the Southwest of Cote d'Ivoire on 8 June 2012, in which seven peacekeepers were killed," said a press statement issued by the 15-nation council here late Friday.
"They called on the Government of Cote d'Ivoire to work with all relevant parties to identify and bring the perpetrators to justice," the statement said.
It was not immediately clear who attacked the UN troops in a place near the towns of Para and Tai, just a few kilometers from the border with Liberia.
The UN peacekeeping forces came under ambush after a recent increase in its presence in the area to beef up its efforts to protect civilians. The seven killed were all from Niger.
"The members of the Security Council expressed their condolences to the families of the peacekeepers killed in the attack, as well as to the government of Niger," the statement said.
"The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern at the prevailing insecurity in western Cote d'Ivoire and the border area, and continued cross-border movements of armed elements, including militias and mercenaries," the statement said.
"The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for UNOCI and the special representative of the secretary-general in Cote d'Ivoire," the statement said.
Earlier on Friday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters at the UN Headquarters in New York that he was "saddened and outraged" by the attack.
In a separate statement issued by his spokesman late on Friday, Ban said that he "is outraged and condemns in the strongest possible terms" the attacks.
"The secretary-general also remains seriously concerned about the continued instability in the border areas between Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia since the Ivorian post-elections crisis, which has resulted in the death of a number of individuals in that region," the statement added.