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Indian peacekeepers ambushed in South Sudan, five killed

Indian peacekeepers ambushed in South Sudan, five killed
Five Indian peace-keepers escorting a United Nations convoy in South Sudan have been killed in an ambush by rebels, the Ministry of External Affairs announced on Tuesday. ‘Five peace-keepers from India with United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) were killed in ambush in Jonglei,’ MEA spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said.

The victims belong to 9 Mech and 6 Mahar Infantry and include a Lieutenant Colonel, a Junior Commissioned Officer, two Non-Commissioned Officers and a jawan.  

Jonglei has been the scene of widespread ethnic conflict since South Sudan became independent in July 2011. Much of the trouble has been in Pibor county, where the UN peacekeeping force is based.

An Indian soldier was shot and wounded there in March amid high tensions about an imminent government crackdown, and a UN helicopter was downed in December. UNMISS chief Hilde Johnson had said in March that the government was expected to soon launch an offensive against fighters loyal to local rebel leader David Yau Yau in Jonglei.

India is a major contributor to UN peacekeeping forces around the world and has suffered losses in the past. In 2010, rebels hacked to death three Indians in their camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Akbaruddin said that the Indian foreign ministry was arranging for the bodies of its peace-keepers in South Sudan to be returned home.
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