Six Pakistani soldiers among eight UN peacekeepers killed in helicopter crash in Congo

Pakistani PM expresses ‘deep sense of shock and grief’ while paying tribute to global peace efforts

Six Pakistani soldiers were among the eight United Nations peacekeepers were killed in a helicopter crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday, officials said.

“While undertaking a reconnaissance mission in Congo, 1 PUMA Helicopter crashed. Exact cause of crash is yet to be ascertained,” the Pakistani military’s media wing said in a statement.

“We offer our condolences to the government and families” of the eight UN peacekeepers, the United Nations Organisation Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his “deep sense of shock and grief,” his office said, paying tribute to the global peace effort by the country’s armed forces.

In a condolence message, Ambassador Munir Akram, Pakistan’s representative to the UN, New York, said that the six brave Pakistani peacekeepers embraced martyrdom in a helicopter crash. “They made this ultimate sacrifice while serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of the UN contingent. My heart goes out to the families of the martyrs. They will always be in our prayers.”

He said the UN Secretary-General assured him of a comprehensive and transparent investigation into the incident.  

The six Pakistani troops were identified as:

  • Lt Col Asif Ali Awan (pilot)
  • Maj Saad Nomani (co-pilot)
  • Maj Faizan Ali
  • ​​N/Sub Sami Ullah Khan (flight engineer)
  • Havaldar Muhammad Ismail (crew chief)
  • L/Hav Muhamad Jamil (gunner)

Pakistan Foreign Office extended its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of maintaining international peace and security.

Foreign Office in its statement paid tribute to 157 of Pakistan’s bravest peacekeepers who have already fallen in the line of duty while serving in UN missions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations New York are in constant touch with the UN authorities to facilitate and expedite the early repatriation of the mortal remains, and to ascertain the details and cause of the helicopter crash, the official statement said.

Pakistan is one of the top troop-contributing countries and continues to play a vital role in maintaining security and stability in many conflict-ridden areas around the world. Pakistan is proud of its long-standing and consistent contributions to UN peacekeeping spanning over six decades.

Since 1960, more than 200,000 Pakistani servicemen have served with honour and valor in 46 UN Missions in almost all continents of the world. “Through their professionalism and dedication, our peacekeepers have always distinguished themselves in every mission they have participated.”

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