Dar es Salaam — The Tanzania People's Defence Force (TPDF) yesterday reiterated its commitment to peacekeeping missions across the world, insisting that the country wasn't deterred by attacks and killings of 14 soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The TPDF chief of staff, Lieutenant General James Mwakibolwa, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that Tanzania would continue flying its flag inside and outside the borders of the country in peacekeeping missions.
"On behalf of the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), I would like to assure Tanzanians that the incident has given us more power, bravery and morale to implement our responsibilities well," he said, adding: "Our country is safe and will continue to be safe. Anybody, who wants to test us will be dealt with accordingly. TPDF's history confirms its ability to do well. We can and we will always do." Lt Gen Mwakibolwa was speaking about 14 Tanzanian peacekeepers, who were recently killed in the DRC during an attack that left 44 wounded and two others missing. Making the first TPDF remarks after the December 8 deadly attack, Lt Gen Mwakibolwa said the fallen soldiers were killed during an attack by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
"The attack, which was launched at their camp along River Simuke in Beni District in northern Kivu Province, took 13 hours, negatively impacting on TPDF," he said, adding:
"However, the remaining Tanzanian peacekeepers in the mission are able to fulfil their responsibilities efficiently, bravely and professionally with the highest morale."
According to him, the December 8 incident was terrible to Tanzania's peacekeeping history, but TPDF was still motivated to continue with peacekeeping responsibilities.
He said Tanzania was collaborating with the United Nations to bring back the bodies of the slain soldiers and that they were expected to arrive in the country tomorrow or Wednesday.
Lt Gen Mwakibolwa said they had also communicated with family members of the killed peacekeepers.
UN secretary-general António Guterres condemned the attack in his condolences to the families, the loved ones and to the government and the people of Tanzania, saying the attack to the peacekeepers was unacceptable and constituted a war crime.
"I call on the DRC authorities to investigate this incident and swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice. There must be no impunity for such assaults, here or anywhere else," reads part of a statement made available to The Citizen.
The UN has referred to it as the worst attack on peacekeepers in the UN's recent history. "It is another indication of enormous sacrifices made by troop contributing countries in the service of global peace. These brave women and men are putting their lives in danger every day across the world to serve peace and protect civilians."