Bodies of Tanzanian peacekeepers to return home this week

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The bodies of 14 Tanzanian peacekeeper troops killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will be repatriated this week.

The soldiers were part of the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces contributing to a UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC. They were killed on Thursday last week when their base in north Kivu was attacked by suspected Uganda rebels.

Bodies to be repatriated this week

Lieutenant General James Mwakibolwa, deputy head of the Tanzanian army, says the military is working with the UN to bring the soldiers’ bodies back home this week.

“We are working with the United Nations on this,” he told reporters. “The bodies will be repatriated between Tuesday, December 12 and Wednesday, December 13.”

The UN says 15 soldiers were killed in the attack after raising the initial figure from 14. However, the Tanzanian government still puts the figure at 14 and this is the number of bodies mentioned to return this week.

Tributes paid to soldiers

The troops killed in the attack will be honoured in Tanzania later this week with a ceremony being held in the capital Dar es Salaam. Jean Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, will speak at the event where he is expected to praise the efforts of those who died and offer condolences to their family members.

The UN has condemned the attack, which is the most deadly incident targeting UN peacekeepers since 1993. Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta has also condemned the attack and promised to support its neighbouring country as best he can.

Featured image: By Wilfried Huss / Anonymous – Flag of the United Nations from the Open Clip Art website. Modifications by Denelson83, Zscout370 and Madden. Official construction sheet here.United Nations (1962) The United Nations flag code and regulations, as amended November 11, 1952, New York OCLC: 7548838., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=437460

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.