Dar es Salaam — The minister for Defence and National Service, Dr Hussein Mwinyi (pictured), said yesterday that Tanzania would not be intimidated by the killing of its soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The minister called on public not to panic following the deaths of 14 Tanzanian peacekeepers on Thursday night. The soldiers were killed in an ambush by suspected militiamen in an attack on a United Nations (UN) base in eastern Congo, leaving 53 other troops wounded.
"We have been sending our soldiers to the DRC and to other countries on peacekeeping missions for a long time. This is just one of the isolated cases. There is no need to panic," he said yesterday as he led the reception of the bodies.
Dr Mwinyi reiterated that all other Tanzanian peacemakers who are in the DRC and in other countries will not return home until they fulfill their mission.
"It is sad news for the government, the UN organisations and other nations, but it will not erode our courage to maintain peace in all the politically unstable countries," he added.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), General Venance Mabeyo said the conditions of the injured soldiers - currently in various hospitals in the DRC provinces of Goma and Kinshansa and in Uganda - were improving.
"I just want to tell people to calm down because our military force is still strong," he said, noting that one of the two Tanzanian solders who went missing after the attack has been found. "We found him alive and he is at the hospital receiving treatment," he said.
The UNO 855 airplane, carrying the 14 bodies of Tanzanian peacekeeper, touched down at Terminal 1 of the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) at around 5:20pm.
The bodies were then transferred to the Lugalo Military Hospital pending burial arrangements.