Six Pakistani officers, soldiers martyred in helicopter crash in Congo

Pakistan pays tribute to its ‘bravest’ UN peacekeepers with 157 fallen troops to date


Six Pakistani officers and soldiers among eight United Nations peacekeepers lost their lives when a Puma helicopter crashed while undertaking a reconnaissance mission in Congo.

In a statement, Inter-Services Public Relations said that exact cause of crash is yet to be ascertained.

The martyred soldiers were identified as Pilot Lieutenant Colonel Asif Ali Awan, Co-Pilot Major Saad Nomani, Major Faizan Ali,  flight engineer Naib subedar Samiullah Khan, the crew chief havaldar Muhammad Ismail, and gunner Muhammad Jamil.

The statement said Pakistan always played a pivotal role as responsible member of the international community to help realize ideals of global peace and security during various UN peacekeeping missions.

An aviation mission of Pakistan was deployed in UN Mission Congo on peacekeeping duties since 2011.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan, and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain have expressed deep grief and sorrow over the martyrdom of Pakistan Army officers and soldiers in a helicopter crash in Congo.

In their separate statements, they paid tribute to the armed forces of Pakistan for their services to world peace.

As one of the top troop-contributing countries, Pakistan deeply values the vital role played by the “blue helmets” in maintaining security and stability in many conflict-ridden areas around the world, the Foreign Office said Wednesday.

In the wake of the crash of a Pakistan Army helicopter during UN Peacekeeping duties in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Foreign Office said the missions were in constant touch with the UN authorities.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations New York are in constant touch with the UN authorities to facilitate and expedite the early repatriation of the mortal remains, and to ascertain the details and cause of the helicopter crash,” the FO statement said.

A Pakistan Army helicopter deployed on peacekeeping duties with the United Nations Organisation Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) crashed during a reconnaissance operation on 29 March. There were 8 UN peacekeepers including six Pakistani troops on board, none of whom survived the unfortunate crash. The exact cause of the incident is yet to be ascertained.

The FO extended “deepest and heartfelt condolences” to the families of the deceased for their ultimate sacrifice for the cause of maintaining international peace and security.

“157 of Pakistan’s bravest peacekeepers have already fallen in the line of duty while serving in UN missions,” it said.

The FO said Pakistan was proud of its long-standing and consistent contributions to UN peacekeeping spanning over six decades. Since 1960, over 200,000 of our servicemen have served with honour and valour in 46 UN Missions in almost all continents of the world.

“Through their professionalism and dedication, our peacekeepers have always distinguished themselves in every mission they have participated in,” it said.

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