A Pakistani UN peacekeeper, Naik Naeem Raza, was killed and another was injured when their covoy was ambushed by “members of an armed group” in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday, a statement published on the United Nations website said.
Raza’s murder was confirmed by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi.
“One of our UN peacekeepers Naik Naeem Raza embraced [martyrdom] today in Congo. May Allah rest his soul in peace. And we pray that another of our soldiers who was injured fully recovers,” the ambassador said in a tweet.
“Pakistan’s peacekeepers will continue their efforts to uphold international peace and security,” she added.
Inter-Services Public Relations, the military’s media wing, said in a statement that Raza was killed when “the Pakistani peacekeeping convoy was ambushed by armed rebels near Lulimba, 96 kilometre south West of Baraka, South Kivu Province.”
The statement added that one other peacekeeper, Bilal, was injured in the attack.
“Pakistani peacekeepers effectively responded to fail the armed rebels,” the military’s statement added.
“Pakistan is a permanent contributor to global peace under UN flag. To date, 156 brave Pakistanis including 23 officers have sacrificed their lives for global peace and stability under UN auspices,” ISPR added. “As of today, over 6000 Pakistani officers and men are performing their duties as part of UN peace keeping assignments.”
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 in a tweet. One other person was killed in the attack.
He reaffirmed the UN’s willingness to continue to address the country’s security challenges, despite tensions with the government.
On Friday, Congolese President Joseph Kabila claimed the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the country, Monusco, had “eradicated” no armed group in nearly 20 years.
He warned the mission not to consider the country “under the care of the United Nations” and said he would “clarify in the coming days our relations” with the world body.
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.