The corpses of eight Blue Helmets of the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO), who were killed in an helicopter crash on March 29, 2022 in Goma, North Kivu were repatriated to their various countries on Saturday April 2, 2022.
Six of the corpses were repatriated to Pakistan, their country of origin, one to Russia and one to Serbia.
The exact circumstances of the crash are not clear yet but the DR Congo national army, FARDC, has accused the M23 rebel group of having shot it down. However, the M23 has declined responsibility for the crash while the UN is yet to make a statement on who actually shot down the helicopter.
The said helicopter was on a reconnaissance mission in the region which has been marked by clashes between the FARDC and M23 in recent days.
Before the corpses embarked on their last journeys to their various countries, a ceremony in their honour was organised in the presence of the UN Assistant Secretary General in charge of Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, representatives of the DR Congo government, senior officials of the United Nations systems in the country, members of the diplomatic corps as well as personnel of MONUSCO.
“Each time we meet in circumstances like this, we recognize the immense sacrifice that all our soldiers of peace fallen at the front have made,” Jean-Pierre Lacroix declared at the ceremony.
“These Blue Helmets have paid the ultimate price to protect innocent persons and create conditions for a peaceful and sustainable environment. To the bereaved families, we express our solidarity, our empathy and our compassion”, Ms. Bintou Keita, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General said on her part.
The Congolese government has announced having lost three of its soldiers in the combat that took place around the zone where the helicopter was shot down.
The government also announced that thanks to reinforcements received and the counter offensive launched, the M23 assailants have been dislodged from Rwanguba and the bridge they were occupying in Tchengerero adding that the operations are continuing on the hills leading from Bukala towards Runyoni.
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