International News

Pakistani UN peacekeeper in Congo martyred in rebel attack

A Pakistani peacekeeper deployed with the United Nations stabilisation mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was killed in an ambush, the UN said on Saturday.
At least one other peacekeeper 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.
Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN, Dr Maleeha Lodhi, identified the martyred Pakistani trooper as Naik Naeem Raza. She also prayed for the recovery of the injured Pakistani soldier in a message on Twitter. 
A statement by the UN spokesman said Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the incident and called on armed groups in DRC to lay down arms and seek to resolve their grievances peacefully.
“The Secretary-General extends his heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased and to the people and government of Pakistan,” said the UN statement, adding that Guterres wishes a speedy recovery to the injured and calls on those responsible for the attack to be brought to justice.
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.
According to media reports, the Senate was informed in September last year that the largest deployment of Pakistani troops in UN peacekeeping missions is in Congo where 3,486 personnel are deployed as part of the UN Mission to protect civilians against human rights violations and physical violence. At least eight Pakistani soldiers lost their lives in Congo, the Senate was informed.
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.