UN envoy jets in over Malawi solders killing in DRC

The United Nations under-secretary general for peacekeeping operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, arrived in Malawi on Tuesday, December 11 to attend a ceremony to honor the six Malawi Defence Force (MDF)  who died in a rebel ambush in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where they were part of a United Nations Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) peacekeeping mission.

Top MDF officers salute the glorious dead

Lacroix is expected to meet national authorities to express gratitude for their contributions and support to UN Peacekeeping.

“He will also interact with families of the fallen peacekeepers,” a statement issued by the UN said. 

After Malawi, Lacroix will fly to Tanzania on the same mission after their soldiers were also killed by the rebels last year. 

Lacroix arrives in the country as the UN has intensified its search for two missing MDF soldiers in the DRC after the battle with the rebels which killed the six soldiers.

Corporal Gift Tinani-Nkhoma, is the latest MDF soldier who went missing in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a fierce battle with rebels some weeks ago but returned to camp.

MDF spokesperson Major Paul Chiphwanya said Tinani-Nkhoma was among four MDF soldiers who went missing after the November 13 North Kivu battle.

The Under-Secretary General will be accompanied by thespecial representative and head of the MONUSCO, Leila Zerrougui as well as the military advisor for peacekeeping operations, Gen Carlos Loitey to bothcountries.

The fallen soldiers were Sergeant Kambalame, 38, who was based at Malawi Armed Force College (Mafco) in Salima prior to his deploymentto DRC; private Chauncy Chitete, 29, from Moyale Barracks in Mzuzu; private Benjamin Nsongela, 29, also from Moyale Barracks private Simplex Taferakaso,31, from Changalume Barracks in Zomba.

Kambalame came from Maya Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kachere in Dedza and is survived by a wife and two children while Chitetewas from Peter Village, T/A Mwenemusiku in Chitipa. He is survived by a wifeand three children.

Nsongela, on the other hand, is from Chakhawo Village, T/A Tengani in Nsanje and is survived by a wife and three children while Taferakaso is from Kaumphawi Village, T/A Nsamala in Balaka.

Other  soldiers died later on Thursday and were identified aare s Lieutenant Aubrey Kachemwe ,35,from Moyale Barracks in Mzuzu and Corporal Jonathan Kapichiri,36, fromParachute Battalion in Salima.

The six were part of an 850-member MDF contingent mandated by the UN under the FIB, alongside troops from South Africa and Tanzania, to neutralise armed groups in North Kivu.

Under the UN FIB, troops from Tanzania, South Africa and Malawi engage in direct combat against numerous armed groups—notably the M-23, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the Ugandan Alliance of Democratic Forces (ADF) and other smaller groups—that have been destabilising eastern DRC for at least 15 years.

MDF has taken part in peacekeeping missions across the DRC and other parts of the continent since 1994.

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