Anonymous British Army personnel
The trouble involved 10 peacekeepers, from 21 Engineer Regiment, deployed as part of UN peacekeeping efforts.
Army

British Army UN peacekeepers clash with locals in Cyprus after jet ski crash

Anonymous British Army personnel
The trouble involved 10 peacekeepers, from 21 Engineer Regiment, deployed as part of UN peacekeeping efforts.

British Army peacekeepers working with the UN's peacekeeping mission in Cyprus are embroiled in a diplomatic incident following a jet ski crash.

Ten peacekeepers, from 21 Engineer Regiment, went to Glapsides Beach, Famagusta, on a day off with their Army padre.

However, trouble started when Turkish Cypriots accused two of the soldiers of crashing hired jet skis and trying to leave without paying for the damage.

The troops claim a group of locals surrounded them, telling them they "would not leave the island alive", after they told the watersports boss they did not have the money on them to pay the £4,300 demanded.

One soldier was then punched in the head from behind, while the padre was hit repeatedly as the rest of the troops tried to block the attack, they claimed.

It is reported the peacekeepers then tried to escape the locals in their vehicles, which resulted in a high-speed chase.

One of the vehicle's paths was blocked by one of the pursuing cars, with the Brits claiming they were threatened with a metal pipe before the vehicles found refuge in the UN base.

In a statement, the UN said: "We are investigating this incident. 

"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 Ministry of Defence (MOD) spokesperson also confirmed an investigation is under way "by the UN Military Police, who are co-operating with local authorities".

"The media reports of events are disputed and we are confident that UK service personnel acted in an appropriate manner throughout," the MOD said.

A UN insider also told Forces News that "by withdrawing from the situation, they (the soldiers/peacekeepers) did the right thing and prevented a bad situation escalating further".