UN mission in Congo repatriates’ bodies of six Pakistani peacekeepers martyred in chopper crash

I salute the commitment of our brave sons, the fallen peacekeepers from Pakistan in D R Congo: Munir Akram

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UNITED NATIONS: The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), known as (MONUSCO), Saturday repatriated the bodies of eight UN peacekeepers, including six Pakistanis, who were tragically killed when their helicopter crashed on March 29 in the country’s North Kivu province, the mission announced. One Russian and one Serbian peacekeepers also died in the crash on Tuesday.

The UN helicopter was on a reconnaissance mission on an area where there have

been clashes between the M23 rebel group and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) in recent days.

“An investigation is under way”, the announcement said. In Goma, the capital of DRC’s North Kivu province, shortly before the repatriation of the bodies, a memorial

service took place in the presence of the Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, DRC Government representatives senior UN Officials and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

“Whenever we come together in sad circumstances such as these, we recognize even more the immense sacrifice made by all of our fallen peacekeepers,” Under-Secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix told the gathering.

“These peacekeepers have paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect innocent people and create conditions for a peaceful and sustainable environment,” the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in DRC, Ms. Bintou Keita said.

“To the bereaved families, we express our solidarity, our empathy, and our compassion,” she added.

On Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issues a statement expressing his sorrow over the tragic incident and offered his “sincere” condolences to the bereaved families and to the governments of the three of countries. Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Munir Akram, has paid high tributes to the six ‘valiant’ Pakistani peacekeepers who made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as their bodies were repatriated from Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, on Saturday.

“I salute the commitment of our brave sons – the fallen peacekeepers from Pakistan in D R Congo,” he wrote on the Twitter.

“They made the supreme sacrifice in the service of peace and to support the Congolese people. They are Pakistan’s valiant heroes and will stay forever in the nation’s thoughts and prayers,” Ambassador Akram added. One Russian and one Serbian peacekeepers also died in the crash, which took place on Tuesday.

The UN helicopter was on a reconnaissance mission on an area where there have

been clashes between the M23 rebel group and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) in recent days. “An investigation is underway”, the UN has said.

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