After Congo, Indian peacekeepers save lives in Sudan

June 2nd, 2008 - 8:28 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) After a rescue operation in Congo, it was the turn of India’s UN peacekeepers in Sudan to save lives after a truck ferrying troops of the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) overturned, injuring about a dozen soldiers, two of whom were stuck under the vehicle and bleeding profusely. The accident occurred at 2 p.m. May 28, a defence ministry statement Monday said.

Troops of the 2 Naga regiment deployed at Bor in southern Sudan “immediately rushed to the site along with a detachment of engineer and medical personnel to extricate the SPLA troops and provide medical aid”, the statement said.

“The immediate response to the humanitarian need by the Indian soldiers helped save lives of SPLA soldiers who would have otherwise bled to death.

The assistance rendered by the Indian troops was widely appreciated and the governor (of the region) expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the immediate and decisive life saving assistance,” the statement said.

“The incident highlights the fine balance the Indian troops maintain in UN missions between professionalism and humanitarian efforts beyond the accepted mandate,” the statement added.

In April, a timely rescue operation mounted by Indian Army troops peacekeepers saved the lives of a number of passengers injured in a plane crash in the Congo.

The officers and men of the 6th battalion of the Sikh Light Infantry swung into action immediately after a Heba Wora airways DC-9 aircraft with 80 passengers and six crew on board crashed at the southern end of the runway of Goma airport in the North Kivu province of the Congo at 2.45 p.m. April 16.

The Indian battalion, which is serving with the North Kivu Brigade of the UN mission in the Congo, was deployed at the Goma airport.

The Indian Army personnel along with the Red Cross managed to rescue six survivors and retrieve 18 bodies from the crash site, a defence ministry statement said April 17.

“A major success was attained when in spite of the raging fire, Lt. Col. K.S. Mathur of the unit managed to retrieve the flight recorder of the aircraft from its tail end,” the statement added.

The police and civil administration in the North Kivu province is virtually defunct due to the raging war between the Congolese government and the rebel forces.

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