Government has disclosed that four Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers part of UN peacekeepers in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) supporting an offensive by local forces against an Islamist group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), are missing while six brave heroes who were killed have been buried in their respective homes.
Deputy Ministerof Defence Amos Mailosi broke the news in Parliament on Friday when he read a ministerial statement detailing events surrounding the death of six MDF soldiers .
Mailosi said apart from the missing solders, eight others are in the hospital at Entebbe, Uganda following injuries they sustained during a clash with rebels in DRC.
He told the House that the rebel group ADF is responsible for a series of attacks on civilians in recent months.
“The ADF has intesfied their operations of intimidation and terror,” Mailosi told Malawi Parliament.
The deputy minister informed the House that the six soldiers died in an operation known as Usalama South on November 14 aimed at clearing ADF bases.
He said: “The Malawi battalion was advancing towards Kasinga tactical operating base, an illegal armed group base and the ADF base was at a distance of approximately 6.8 kilometres. The troops advanced without much resistance up to Ididiwe, which was originally a base for Fardc, a government force there.
“The following day, on November 14 2018, the troops to the IAG position, however, before reaching the position they came under contact, exchanged fire and started breaking contact up to Ididiwe. ADF pursued our troops up to Ididiwe and there was heavy exchange of fire. It is at this point and position that we lost four soldiers and 10 were wounded.”
Said Mailosi: “ Two of the wounded soldiers died on their way to hospital. Four soldiers are still missing in action.”
Mailosi has assured the House that govt will keep updating the nation on the status of those missing and injured.
Second Deputy Speaker Clement Chiwaya requested members not to debate the statement as per Standing Orders to give respect to the departed soldiers.
Said Chiwaya: “I ask members that there shouldn’t be any debate on this matter so that the souls of the departed soldiers should rest in peace.”
House members resolved not to debate on the statement.
The four soldiers missing in action are; Sergeant Chancy Mwakalenga, Sergeant Boniface Nowa, Corporal George Salim & Lance Corporal Gift Nkhoma.
The injured are; Sergeant Dan Chilanje, Corporal Malijani Selo, Lance Corporal Wesley Mautanga, Private Anthony Mwamadi, Private Moses Mdala, & Private Damson Nkhoma.
Meanwhile, Egypt has condoled with Malawi for the loss of six soldiers who died on a peacekeeping mission in DRC.
“I have received with great shock and deep sorrow the sad news of the heinous attack that occurred on November 15, in North Kivu during the joint operations carried out by the MONUSCO and the government forces,” said the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry in a statement.
“I would like on behalf of the Egyptian government and people to express heartfelt condolences to the people of Malawi and to the families and the loved ones of those brave Malawians who lost their lives for the noble cause of serving for peace and protecting civilians,” Shoukry said.
Egypt expressed condemnation for the heinous crimes against United Nations peacekeepers.
The six MDF fallen soldiers who were killed in the ambush were buried on Thursday.
MDF spokesperson Paul Chiphwanya said Corporal Jonathan Kapichira from Mphunda Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kaphuka and, Sergeant Steven Kambalame of Maya Village TA Kachere both from Dedza, Private Chauncy Chitete from Peter Village TA Mwenemisuku, Chitipa; Private Benjamin Songela from ChikhawoVillage, T/A Tengani, Nsanje and Private Simplex Taferakaso from Kaumphawi Village TA Nsamala Balaka were buried at their respective home village.
Lieutenant Aubrey Kachemwe, who hailed from Mbendera Village, T/A Mkanda was buried at HHI cemetery in Blantyre.
Eastern DRC has been plagued by banditry and armed insurrections for more than two decades, since the fall of the military ruler Mobutu Sese Seko, but there has been a surge in violence in the past year.
Much of the unrest has been blamed on the ADF, which analysts say is trying to develop links with other jihadists in Africa and beyond
Malawi contribute to the longstanding 17,000-member peacekeeping force in violence-prone parts of the DRC.
Countries contributing troops to UN peacekeeping missions are well paid for sending their personnel – about $1,410 (£1,017) per month per soldier.
In recent years, the ADF has tried to align itself with better-known extremist groups, adopting a flag resembling that of Isis and using language popularised by al-Qaida.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :