India had called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council after an attack on the UN mission in Congo killed Indian and Moroccan peacekeepers and also ensured that a strong-worded statement is issued by the 15-nation body that calls for accountability for the killing of the Blue Helmets.
Two Border Security Force personnel head constables Shishupal Singh and Sanwala Ram Vishnoi, and a peacekeeper from Morocco were killed and others injured when the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in North Kivu came under attack on July 26.
Hours after the attack, India, currently a non-permanent member of the Security Council, called for a meeting of the Council under 'Any Other Business' to discuss the situation.
A day later, the UN Security Council issued a press statement that strongly condemned the attacks and called on the Congolese authorities to swiftly investigate the attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice.
In the press statement tabled by India and France, the powerful 15-nation Council expressed their deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to India and Morocco. They also expressed their condolences to the United Nations and for the civilians who lost their lives and wished a speedy recovery to injured peacekeepers and civilians.
"The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the recent attacks on the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in North Kivu, which resulted in the death of three peacekeepers from India and Morocco, as well as in injuries to peacekeepers," the press statement, issued Wednesday, stated.
India, which is among the largest troop contributing country to UN peacekeeping missions, played a very active role in bringing Council members together and ensuring that a strong-worded statement goes out that condemns the attack on peacekeepers, sources said.
Sources said all Council members were united in condemning the attack on the peacekeepers and called for perpetrators to be swiftly brought to justice.
In the press statement, the Security Council members condemned in the strongest terms all attacks and provocations against MONUSCO and underlined that deliberate attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute "war crimes" under international law.
They called on the Congolese authorities to swiftly investigate these attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice, and to keep the relevant troop-and police-contributing countries informed of the progress consistent with relevant Security Council resolutions.
They requested the Secretary General for an update consistent with para 4(a) of Security Council resolution 2589 (2021) on measures undertaken to promote accountability for such acts.
The UNSC resolution 2589 was adopted in August last year under India's Presidency of the Council and it called upon the member states hosting or having hosted United Nations peacekeeping operations to promote accountability for the killing of, and all acts of violence against United Nations personnel serving in peacekeeping operations. It also recognises the need to enhance support to help these countries address impunity.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also strongly condemned the July 26 fatal attack and had expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the fallen peacekeepers as well as to the government and the people of India and of Morocco.
At the MONUSCO Butembo base, violent attackers snatched weapons from Congolese police and "fired upon" the uniformed personnel. MONUSCO's Acting Head Khassim Diagne told reporters from Kinshasa that the past two days have been "intensive" and "tragic" for the mission.
"The culmination of the violence and the tragedy resulted in the killing of three of our brave peacekeepers, two Indians of the Formed Police Unit and one Moroccan from the military contingent and another Egyptian colleague from the police also wounded," he said.
"We once again express our deepest condolences to the families and the government of India and Morocco. And we will not leave any stone unturned to get to the bottom of it, to the investigation. This was clearly a hostile act against our troops. This may be a war crime," he said.
Khassim Diagne added that the remains of the fallen peacekeepers have been transferred now to the north eastern city of Beni and "we're looking at arrangements for these remains to go back quickly to their families in India and Morocco".
As of November 2021, India was the second highest military contributor to MONUSCO with 1888 troops and the fifth highest police contributor with 139 personnel. The mission has a total of over 17,700 personnel.
"The members of the Security Council called for calm and dialogue in order to resolve the current tensions and to ensure protection of civilians. They encouraged further efforts of the Congolese Government to restore law and order as well as to conduct investigations into the underlying causes of the current tensions and to ensure accountability," the press statement said.
The members of the Security Council also stressed the importance of MONUSCO having the necessary capacities to fulfil its mandate and promote, including by taking additional measures as appropriate, the safety and security of the United Nations peacekeepers and its operations, pursuant to relevant Security Council resolutions.
They underscored that the primary responsibility for the safety and security of United Nations personnel and assets rests with host states and highlighted the importance of engagements and continued communications between MONUSCO and the Congolese government in this regard, including the efforts to proactively enhance the understanding of MONUSCO's mandate among the local population, counter disinformation and misinformation and garner trust of the local population.
The Council members called on all parties to cooperate fully with MONUSCO and to remain committed to the full and objective implementation of the Mission's mandate and under the Status of Forces Agreement with MONUSCO.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
They reiterated their full support to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Bintou Keita, and for the stabilising action of MONUSCO, in line with the basic principles of peacekeeping, including consent of the parties, and its mandate and expressed their deep appreciation to MONUSCO's troop- and police-contributing countries.
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