KATHMANDU, Nov 4: The Nepal Army (NA) on Thursday said that allegations against UN peacekeepers from Nepal currently deployed at a Nepalese peacekeeping base at Miraebalasis in Haiti as the source of a cholera outbreak have been proved wrong.
Issuing a press statement, NA´s Directorate of Public Relations (DPR) said investigations conducted by UN investigators and the Nepalese ´contingent´ confirmed that tests of water samples from the military camp were negative for cholera.
"An investigation conducted by collecting and testing water samples and waste from the military camp of Mirebalais confirmed that the tests proved to be negative," states the press release issued by DPR.
There have been allegations that the Nepalese peacekeeping mission at Mirebalais was the source of a cholera epidemic in Haiti.
"We have an official policy not to deploy unhealthy soldiers in peacekeeping missions," states the press release, adding, "We don´t allow anyone in a peacekeeping mission without a health check."
The DPR also clarified that no symptoms of cholera were found in Nepali peacekeepers during their health check up following the allegation that they are the source of the epidemic.
"All the Nepalese peace keepers had their health checked up instantly after the allegations. The investigation did not find any evidence that Nepalese peace keepers were the source of the cholera; there is no evidence that the disease has been caused or carried by Nepalese peacekeepers," the statement points out.
The DPR further said that it is ready to cooperate with the UN, its mission in Haiti and the Haiti government in curbing the cholera outbreak.
Cholera in Haiti has killed nearly 300 people recently.
"Following additional tests of water samples from the military camp of Mirebalais concluded one week ago, the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) can now confirm that the tests were analyzed by an independent laboratory and proved negative," Martin Nesirky, spokesperson of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, said.
The latest test followed previous ones conducted on 22 and 26 October, which also proved negative.
Asked about UN efforts to determine whether its peacekeepers have cholera, Nesirky said that all the soldiers in the Nepalese contingent underwent all necessary medical tests and were found innocent of the allegations.
"If they had diarrhea or any other cholera-related symptom, they would have undergone further tests, including for cholera. But none of them had to do that as they were all healthy and remain that way now," Nesirky said.
He added that what the media saw coming from the Nepalese camp in not human waste, but water from their kitchen and showers, coming out of a soak pit that had overflowed overnight following heavy rains.