Pakistani Blue Helmets Serving UN Peacekeeping Mission In DR Congo Set To Leave After 20 Years Of Service

UNITED NATIONS, (APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 26th Apr, 2024) Pakistani peacekeepers, who formed the bulk of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), are preparing to leave the Central African country after 20 years of dedicated service, a UN spokesperson said Thursday.

Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told the regular noon briefing at UN Headquarters in New York that the planned departure of the Pakistani peacekeepers, deployed in DRC’s South Kivu province, was part of the disengagement plan of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), initiated at the beginning of the year.

Since 2003 when they were first deployed, Dujarric said, more than 100,000 Pakistani peacekeepers had served in South Kivu, including 31 who had died in the line of duty.

For Pakistan that’s the greatest number of Blue Helmets they have lost in the 46 Peacekeeping missions in the 29 countries where they have been deployed, it was pointed out.

According to the disengagement plan, in parallel with the withdrawal of UN troops, the DRC government would increase its presence in the areas the Mission was vacating at its request, he said.

“Today,” Dujarric added, “our colleagues held a ceremony to recognize their important contributions to peace consolidation and security.”

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the DRC and head of MONUSCO), Ms.

Bintou Keita, the Mission’s Force Commander, Major General Khar Diouf, the South Kivu Provincial Minister of Infrastructures and representative of the interim Governor, Cissa wa Numbe, the Government Delegate General in charge of liaison with MONUSCO, Ambassador Noel Mbemba, participated in the ceremony in Kavumu, 32 km from Bukavu.

“I pay tribute to the immense contribution the troops from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have made to advancing peace and security in South Kivu,” MONUSCO head said.

“I honour the 31 Blue Helmets who have paid the ultimate price – over the years, their sacrifice, professionalism, and commitment have helped protect millions of people in DRC.”

Meanwhile, a UN press release said the Pakistani troops have been engaged in military operations aimed at protecting civilians and maintaining peace and security in South Kivu.

In 2017, together with the Armed Forces of the DRC, it said the Pakistani contingent stopped a coalition of armed groups from taking over the city of Uvira.

In 2018, they pushed back an offensive by armed groups in the Hauts Plateaux of Uvira, protecting more than 120,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Over the years, the Pakistani Peacekeepers have protected millions of IDPs (internally displaced persons), many of whom have established camps around their bases.

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