UN probes ‘reckless behaviour’ on north beach

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The UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) said it was investigating allegations that two drunken British soldiers sunk jet skis and misbehaved on a beach in the Turkish-held north of the divided island.

According to Turkish Cypriot media, two British members of UNFICYP damaged two jet-skis they had rented from a water sports operator at Glapsides beach in Famagusta last week.

“All UN peacekeepers are expected to maintain the highest standards of conduct at all times.

“We need the investigation to be completed before making any conclusions. All peacekeepers are accountable for their conduct,” said a UN statement.

It is claimed that the two peacekeepers were drunk and recklessly drove jet skis, crashing them twice and eventually sinking them.

The men and the jet-skis were pulled out of the water by the operators, who asked them to pay for the damage.

Turkish Cypriot daily Yeniduzen quoted the owner estimating material damages and loss of business at around €13,000.

Allegedly, the UN soldiers refused to pay for damages or give their personal details.

According to statements made by the owner of the water sports, the two officers claimed “nobody could touch them” as they were UN peacekeepers.

Bystanders filmed the two men as they boarded a UN van, fleeing the scene.

As the owner of the jet skis reported on social media, the UN van crashed into his car when they left the scene.

Earlier on Monday, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar had requested a “serious and speedy joint investigation” into the incident.

Some eyewitnesses at the scene reported that provocation of UN soldiers and damage to UN property had occurred.

UNFICYP is one of the longest-running UN Peacekeeping missions, with 800 troops patrolling a 180-kilometre ceasefire line.

It was established in 1964 to prevent further fighting between the island’s Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.