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Seven Pakistani UN peacekeepers martyred in 2022

According to the United Nations Staff Union, at least 32 UN peacekeepers were killed in attacks in 2017; seven of them were from Pakistan.

The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) was the deadliest for peacekeepers for the ninth year in a row, with 13 deaths, followed by the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) with 14 deaths, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) with 4 deaths, and the United Nations Interim Force in South Sudan (UNITSS) with 1 death (UNIFIL).

According to a statement from the government, the 32 dead included 28 members of the armed forces and 4 police officers, including a female officer.

“Peacekeepers and the civilian staff who operate side by side with them are on the front lines of the United Nations’ operations in the world’s most demanding circumstances,” said Staff Union President Aitor Arauz.

Arauz argued that attacks on UN employees were a threat to peacekeeping, a key component of the international system. The international community must establish proper measures to ensure that those responsible for such atrocities, which may constitute war crimes under international law, are brought to justice.

According to the UN Staff Union, 494 United Nations and affiliated workers have been killed in purposeful attacks over the past 13 years due to IEDs, RPGs, artillery fire, mortar rounds, landmines, armed and successive ambushes, convoy attacks, suicide bombings, and targeted murders.

According to the report, in 2022, 7 Pakistanis, 7 Egyptians, 4 Chadians, 3 Bangladeshis, 2 Indians, 2 Nigerians, 1 each from Guinea, Ireland, Jordan, Morocco, Nepal, Russia, and Serbia lost their lives while serving as peacekeepers.

Six Pakistani peacekeepers working with MONUSCO were killed in a helicopter crash in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Muhammad Ismail, Faizan Ali, Asif Ali Awan, Samiullah Khan, Muhammad Saad Nomani, and Muhammad Jamil Khan (DRC).

As part of a surveillance and reconnaissance mission, a MONUSCO helicopter crashed in the Tshanzu area, 20 kilometres south of Rutshuru, in North Kivu. The area was the site of recent battles between the M23 militia and the armed forces of the DRC.

Additionally, Babar Siddique, a Pakistani peacekeeper serving with MONUSCO, was slain in an attack on the Mission’s operating base in Minembwe, South Kivu, by individuals believed to be affiliated with the Twirwaneho armed organisation, according to the news release.

Pakistan has been a major donor of military personnel to UN peacekeeping missions.

Pakistan has sent nearly 200,000 soldiers on 43 different operations since the 1960s. Pakistan has lost 157 of its bravest in its service to the cause of peace.