The blue helmet Indian Forces under UN peacekeeping mission rushed to help locals prone to be affected by a massive volcano eruption in Mount Nyiragongo, Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. The Mount had an active lava that could have been killed approximately 6 lakhs of local population if not evacuated.
The total strength of approximately more than 2000 military personnel including two infantry battalion groups, medical staff and military observers successfully shifted a large number of local population in Congo from the disaster threat.
The latest statement released by Indian Army officials follows – “As a precautionary measure, various country contingents were told to be on the alert by the UN’s internal security system who calculated that evacuation will not be required However, a majority of the country contingents including aviation contingents evacuated immediately”.
In a combined statement by Indian Army headquarters it has been said that “The Indian Brigade headquarters held their ground and thinned out 70% of the strength of the camp and sent them to the Himbi company operating base for safety. A minimum strength continued to hold onto the camp ensuring no threat to U.N. and national assets as also providing security to empty aviation base and aviation fuel stored there.”
Indian Army is one of the longest standing troops active in Democratic Republic of Congo, formally known as “ Republic of Zaire”. Indian Army Captain Gurbachan Singh Salaria of Gorkha Rifles was the first Indian Armed officer to be martyred in Congo while saving Katanga Province from terrorists during the deadly clashes in 1961. He was honored with Param Vir Chakra ( posthumously).
Democratic Republic of Congo has been unstable and under crisis zone since 1960s due to ethnic and communist tensions. The barbaric Rwandan genocide of 1994 , holding the responsibility of deadly exodus of Tutsis community of Rwanda by the majority also worsen the condition of Congo as millions of Tutsi fled to Congo, that created pernicious foreign involvement in Congo.