British Army soldiers working with the UN peacekeeping forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP) were involved in a brawl with locals in the occupied north.
According to Forces.net, the incident ignited when ten peacekeepers who were on Glapsides Beach, Famagusta, with their army padre, on a day off, were accused by locals of crashing hired jet skis and trying to leave without paying for the damage.
The troops stated that a group of locals surrounded them, telling them they “would not leave the island alive” after they said they did not have the money on them to pay.
Then, Forces.net reports that a soldier was punched in the head from behind, while the padre was hit repeatedly as the rest of the troops tried to block the attack.
It is reported the peacekeepers then tried to escape the locals in their vehicles, which resulted in a car chase.
One of the vehicle’s paths was blocked by one of the pursuing cars, with the UN soldiers claiming they were threatened with a metal pipe before the vehicles found refuge in the UN base.
Watersports Firm boss Cenk Akay, 39, told The Sun that the off-duty Brits were ‘arrogant, drunk and ill-disciplined and a disgrace to the UN.
Akay had demanded £4,300 to repair the damage to the jet skis but the Brits told him they did not have enough money with them to pay, causing him to phone the police.
“I warned the two soldiers to keep the jet skis 100 metres apart for their safety but they ignored me and drove them like dodgems – they were crazy,” he added.
UNFICYP ordered an immediate investigation into the incident and warned that it ‘could lead to deterioration of relations between the local population and members of the UN as well as damage to the good name of the UN’.
“All UN peacekeepers are required to maintain the highest standards of conduct at all times. We need to complete our investigation before making any conclusions,” a UN statement said.
UN personnel have been temporarily banned from recreational trips to the occupied north pending the investigation.