MEMORIAL SERVICE AT MINUSCA HEADQUARTERS HONOURS FALLEN PEACEKEEPERS
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) held a memorial ceremony today in honour of five peacekeepers who lost their lives as a result of an attack on their convoy on 8 May 2017 in the southeastern part of the country.
The UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, on a special visit to the Central African Republic, presided over the ceremony, in the presence of Central African authorities and alongside the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MINUSCA, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Najat Rochdi, and MINUSCA Force Commander Lt. Gen. Balla Keita.
Mr. Lacroix paid tribute to “the five soldiers who served under the United Nations flag and who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of peace,” emphasizing that “their sacrifice must not be forgotten and will not be in vain.” He saluted the courage of the ten Cambodian and Moroccan peacekeepers injured in the attack and wished them a speedy recovery.
MINUSCA peacekeepers undertake a difficult and honourable endeavour. Their critical work protecting civilians, opening roadways and building bridges helps to bring unity to a divided country.
Addressing mourners, Mr. Lacroix said, “This attack is an attack against the United Nations’ ideals of peace and security that these soldiers defend here in the Central African Republic. This attack must not go unpunished and the perpetrators of this act of extreme cruelty must be prosecuted.”
Following a minute of silence in memory of the fallen, Mr. Lacroix read the names of the deceased: Second Lt. Mao Eng of the Cambodian contingent, medical staff; Second Lt. Seang Norin of the Cambodian contingent, quality control officer; Sgt. Mom Tola of the Cambodian contingent, assistant driver; Sgt. Som Im of the Cambodian contingent, driver; Chief Warrant Officer M’Bark Azyz of the Moroccan contingent, troop leader. Mr. Lacroix expressed his sincerest condolences to their loved ones and their countries.
“Those who accept to work in difficult conditions show remarkable courage and I am humbled by the courage of the personnel of the Mission,” said Mr. Lacroix, who laid wreaths on the coffins of the slain peacekeepers during the ceremony.
The ceremony at the Mission’s headquarters in Bangui was attended by senior Central African Government officials, the diplomatic corps, humanitarian community representatives and hundreds of deeply saddened UN personnel in CAR.
The remains of the fallen peacekeepers will be transferred to a UN regional support base in Entebbe, Uganda, from where they will be flown home to Cambodia and Morocco.