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Indian UN peacekeeper killed in Congo

Source: PTI
May 25, 2010 02:26 IST
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An Indian soldier on a United Nations peacekeeping mission in strife-torn Congo was killed during a firefight between the Congolese Army and armed assailants.

Hussein Lal, the Indian peacekeeper was stationed along with his patrol in Democratic Republic of Congo's volatile North-Kivu province. The fighting took place near the Indian cantonment, 80 kilometers north of Goma, the capital of the province.

The Indian troops who were patrolling the area intervened when the Congolese Armed Forces came under attack from the rebels at around 1:00 pm (local time) on Sunday.

When the Indian peacekeepers arrived on the scene, the rebel group began to disengage and fire indiscriminately, according to the Indian mission to the UN.

It was during this indiscriminate firing that Lal was shot. He was rushed to the hospital in Goma by helicopter but could not be saved. "We have been informed that he was hit on the spinal cord," an official told PTI.

The peacekeepers come under frequent attacks from the armed groups in the country such as the FDLR Rwandan Hutu rebel group and Mai-Mai tribal militias.

A Congolese soldier and a civilian were also killed in the attack, according to the UN. The UN peacekeepers in DRC have lost more than a 100 troops since it was sent to the troubled region in 1999.

The mandate for the peacekeepers wraps up at the end of the month and UN is presently considering withdrawing its operations from DRC.

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