UN chief expresses condolence over martyrdom of Pakistani soldier in Congo

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 04 (APP): United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed his “deepest condolence” over the killing in a militant attack of Havaldar Babar Siddique, a Pakistani soldier who was serving the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) deployed in the eastern part of the troubled country.

Havaldar Siddique embraced martyrdom on Friday when his company’s base in Minembwe, South Kiv, came under fire from Twirwaneho combatants.

“The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to the family of the fallen peacekeeper and to the Government and people of Pakistan,” said a statement read out at Monday’s noon briefing in New York on Monday by his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

So far, 171 Pakistani peacekeepers have laid down their lives during various UN missions around the world. According to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), Pakistan is the largest military contributor to MONUSCO, with 1,974 personnel, which began in July 2010 to protect civilians, deter armed groups and help build state institutions and services.

The UN chief also strongly condemns the attack, and called on the Congolese authorities to investigate this incident and swiftly bring those responsible to justice.

“The Secretary-General recalls that attacks against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime under international law,” the statement said.

“The Secretary-General reaffirms that the United Nations, through his Special Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will continue to support the Congolese Government and people in their efforts to bring about peace and stability in the east of the country.”