Tanzania asks UN to investigate killings of 14 peacekeeoers in DRC

UN peacekeepers ( FILE PHOTO)

The government of Tanzania on Thursday asked the UN to conduct a thorough investigation into an attack by rebels that killed 14 Tanzanian soldiers in a peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo).

Kassim Majaliwa, the east African country’s Prime Minister, made the appeal when he led hundreds of mourners in paying their last respects to the slain Tanzanian soldiers at the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense and National Service in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

“We call upon the UN to ensure an investigation is carried out to establish the reason behind the attack, so that those responsible should face justice,” he said in his speech on behalf of President John Magufuli.

Majaliwa said the nation has lost dedicated young men who offered their lives for the sake of other people’s peace, adding that the nation will always remember them.

In attendance was the Under Secretary-General of UN Peacekeeping operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix who said the killing of the peacekeepers was tantamount to war crime and that the rebels seemed to be disrupted by the presence of the peacekeepers in DR Congo.

Defence Minister Hussein Mwinyi said the deceased soldiers have left a gap that will be difficult to fill in and called upon the soldiers to unite and love each other following the incident.

In his remarks, the Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Venance Mabeyo said at no time will the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces be discouraged by such acts, saying this only gave the army time and opportunity to re-organise themselves better and build the courage to go on until peace was restored in neighboring countries.

He described the incident as the worst since the country started participating in peacekeeping missions in 2011 when they entered DR Congo.

Fourteen Tanzanian peacekeepers were killed on Dec. 7, after they were attacked by ADF rebels at Beni district in North Kivu province, which borders Uganda.

In a statement, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack saying the killing of the peacekeepers was unacceptable and constituted war crimes.

The statement said the attack was the worst on UN peacekeepers in the UN’s recent history.

Established in 2010, MONUSCO, the largest UN’s peacekeeping mission, has recorded 93 fatalities of military, police and civilian personnel.(Xinhua/NAN)