UN chief "very, very sad" about shooting of Afghan civilians by U.S. soldier

March 14, 2012 9:43 am 

UNITED NATIONS, March 14 — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday expressed his sadness about the March 11 massacre of 16 Afghan civilians by a U.S soldier.

"I was very, very sad to hear about this shocking incident," Ban told a group of reporters here, according to a note to correspondents released here by his spokesman. "So many people, including children, were killed by the act of a single individual. "

The massacre occurred in Kandahar province, where an American soldier left his base and opened fire in the homes of Afghan villagers living nearby.

The 16 civilians killed included women and children.

According to the note, Ban said that the UN expects an investigation to start with regards to the killings, in order to "rapidly establish the facts" so that "those responsible will be held accountable and that the public will be fully informed."

The secretary-general emphasized the importance of protecting civilians.

"When it comes to the protection of civilian populations, I have been very vocal here and all around the world, not only in Afghanistan," said Ban. "We will continue to urge all authorities and military personnel who are engaging in these operations to pay extreme and utmost care to protect the civilian population."

Hundreds of university students took to the streets in Afghanistan's eastern city of Jalalabad on Tuesday to protest a deadly rampage by the U.S. soldier, reports said.

Also on Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama said that the American soldier's massacre of Afghan civilians is "outrageous and unacceptable," and he promised a thorough and unstinting probe into the tragedy. (PNA/Xinhua)

DCT/mmg

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