Indian peacekeepers ambushed in South Sudan, five killed
Five Indian peacekeepers were killed in South Sudan’s Jonglei area on Tuesday.
New Delhi: Five Indian Army personnel, including an officer, were killed and four injured during a UN peacekeeping mission when their 32-member convoy was attacked in Gurmuck in the volatile state of Jonglei, South Sudan.
The Indian peacekeepers were ambushed by Sudan rebels and were killed when they were escorting an UN envoy. The attack took place at 0930 hrs local time (12.35 IST).
The convoy, comprising 32 Indian soldiers, was attacked and the casualties included one Lt Colonel, one Junior Commission Officer and 3 jawans. There were also 4 wounded, of which one is of officer level, reports said.
"The Indian casualties, including the injured (together with other local civilian casualties) are being brought by 3 UN helicopters from Jonglei to Juba," official sources said.
While there will be emergency treatment for the injured in the UN mission hospital in South Sudan, the arrangements were being made to bring back the bodies of those killed, they said.
The sources also said India`s Ambassador will be meeting with the Special Representative of the UNSG in South Sudan, Hilda Johnson to ascertain further details and to facilitate all arrangements, as necessary.
The news was confirmed by the Indian foreign ministry. “Five peacekeepers from India with UNMISS (United Nations Mission in South Sudan) killed in ambush in Jonglei,” foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin wrote on Twitter.
The UN peacekeeping force is based is based in Pibor county. South Sudan became independent in 2011. However, Jonglei, where the Indians were killed, had seen major ethnic conflict since then.
This is not the first time that an Indian soldier has been attacked in the area. An Indian soldier was shot and wounded in March this year in Jonglei.
There are around 2,200 Indian Army personnel comprising two battalions, one based in Jonglei and the other in Malakkal, Upper Nile, on the border with Sudan.
Since South Sudan got independence in July 2011, it has witnessed ethnic strife, with Pibor county, the main base of UN peacekeeping force, being the centre of much of the violence.
India has been a major part of UN peacekeeping forces all over the world. In 2010, rebels had killed three Indians in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
With PTI inputs