UNITED NATIONS - The UN peacekeeping chief strongly denied on Wednesday allegations from the Philippines' army chief that Filipino peacekeepers in the Golan Heights were ordered to surrender their weapons to Islamist militants who had trapped them.

Filipino army chief General Gregorio Catapang said his soldiers had defended themselves against Islamist rebels last weekend in defiance of an order from their UN force commander to surrender their weapons, a move that would be highly controversial in the six-nation, blue-helmeted force.

The UN's under-secretary-general for peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous, denied that any such order was given.

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