ISLAMABAD, March 30 (PTI): Six Pakistan Army soldiers were among eight UN peacekeepers killed in a helicopter crash while on a UN peace mission in Congo, according to a statement here on Wednesday.
The Pakistan Army helicopter was deployed on peacekeeping duties with the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and it crashed during a reconnaissance operation on March 29, Foreign Office said.
“There were 8 UN peacekeepers including 6 Pakistani troops on board, none of whom survived the unfortunate crash,” it said.
The exact cause of the incident is yet to be ascertained.
“We would like to extend our 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,” FO said.
It added that so far 157 of Pakistan’s bravest peacekeepers 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.
Pakistan one of the top troop-contributing countries deeply values the vital role played by the “blue helmets” 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, over 200,000 of our servicemen have served with honour and valour in 46 UN Missions on almost all continents of the world. Through their professionalism and dedication, our peacekeepers have always distinguished themselves in every mission they have participated in.
Separately, Pakistan Army said that its Aviation Unit is deployed in UN Mission Congo on peacekeeping duties since 2011 and the 1PUMA helicopter crashed while undertaking a reconnaissance mission in Congo.
It identified the fallen men as three officers Lt Col Asif Ali Awan, Pilot Major Saad Nomani, and Co-Pilot, Major Faizan Ali, while three soldiers Sami Ullah Khan, Muhammad Ismail and Muhamad Jamil.
“Pakistan has always played a pivotal role as a responsible member of the international community to help realise ideals of global peace and security through active sp in various UN Peacekeeping missions. Our Peacekeepers have always distinguished themselves in executing challenging peacekeeping tasks in conflict-prone areas through devotion and, if necessary, rendering supreme sacrifices,” the Army said.