UNITED NATIONS – A Pakistani UN peacekeeper embraced martyrdom in an ambush with “members of an armed group” in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday, a United Nations spokesman said.
Naik Naeem Raza, deployed with the United Nations stabilisation mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was killed while another peacekeeper, Pakistan’s Sepoy Bilal, was wounded following an attack by members of an armed group near Lulimba, 96 kilometres south-west of Baraka, in the DRC’s South Kivu Province, according to the UN.
Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, Dr Maleeha Lodhi, prayed for the martyred official and recovery of the injured Pakistani soldier in a message on Twitter.
One of our UN peacekeepers Naik Naeem Raza embraced shahadat today in Congo. May Allah rest his soul in peace And we pray that another of our soldiers who was injured fully recovers
— Maleeha Lodhi (@LodhiMaleeha) January 27, 2018
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “condemns the killing of a peacekeeper from Pakistan… following an ambush” in the troubled eastern province of South Kivu, a UN spokesman said.
He reaffirmed the UN´s willingness to continue to address the country´s security challenges, despite tensions with the government.
According to a statement by the Pakistan Army’s media wing, “Pakistan continues to contribute towards global peace and stability. Another Pakistani peacekeeper soldier gave his life as Part of UN Peacekeeping force in DRC”.
MONUSCO, the largest of the UN missions, has been present in the country since 1999.
Sprawling, mineral-rich but mired in poverty, DR Congo is in the grip of overlapping political and ethnic crises, and much of the country´s east is in the hands of rival militia groups competing over resources.
Pakistan is said to be the third largest contributor to United Nations’ peacekeeping missions around the world, after Ethiopia and India.
More than 6,000 officers and soldiers are performing their duties as part of UN peacekeeping assignments, the army had said in October last year at the 72nd founding day of the UN.
Pakistani troops are currently performing peacekeeping duties in Congo, Darfur, Haiti, Liberia, West Sahara, Central African Republic and Sudan.
As many as 153 Pakistan peacekeepers have sacrificed their lives, including 23 officers, for global peace and stability under UN auspices, according to the army statement.
In case of casualties on duty, the UN pays a package of $70,000 in compensation – directly remitted to the duly recognised beneficiaries of the deceased.