THE Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF) on Sunday said its peacekeeper in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Major Khatibu Shaaban Mshindo, died on the way to hospital after he was hit by a bomb in Goma.
The Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), General Davis Mwamunyange, said the bomb injured five other Tanzanian soldiers. The CDF was speaking at a function to pay last respects to Major Mshindo at Lugalo Barracks in Dar es Salaam.
Major Mshindo was laid to rest at his home village of Fujoni in Zanzibar, later yesterday. He is survived by a widow and three children. The attack occurred in the Kibati Hills in North Kivu as the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) supported Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) to protect civilian-populated areas of Goma from M23 rebel group. General Mwamunyange noted further that the injured soldiers were still in hospital and in stable conditions.
He showered praises on Major Mshindo, saying during his life time he was hard worker, honest and diligent. His death is a big blow, he added. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Bernard Membe, said Major Mshindo would be remembered as a hero because he died in action.
He said that the death which brings the number of Tanzanian soldiers who have died in peacekeeping missions in Sudan and DRC to eight, this year, will only act as a reason to intensify efforts to help find lasting peace in the continent.
"The government is impressed with the unity that Tanzanians have shown in supporting our soldiers in peacekeeping missions....," he said. He warned some people who were seeking cheap popularity by sowing seeds of discord over the government's efforts to seek lasting peace in Africa and world in general.
"Our role is to ensure that areas with insecurity are secured, in DRC the condition is bad, people are dying every day, women and children are raped and humiliated. We are determined to end these deaths and our troops will not hold us back," he said.
On 28 March, this year, the UN Security Council authorised the establishment of the intervention brigade to carry out targeted offensive operations, with or without the FARDC, against armed groups that threaten peace in eastern DRC.
At the same time, the Security Council called on the M23 to cease immediately all forms of violence and destabilising activities and for its members to immediately and permanently disband and lay down their arms.