By smash reporter
Remains of six Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers killed in a rebel ambush in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where they were part of a United Nations Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) peacekeeping mission are expected to be repatriated home on Wednesday.
The soldiers were killed in DRC’s mineral-rich east, where rival militia groups control parts of the region more than a decade after the official end of a 1998-2003 war.
MDF spokesman Major Paul Chiphwanya said the soldiers were attacked by “illegal armed forces”.
He said the bodies od the soldiers weee currently in transit and would arrive through Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe.
“The bodies are currently in Entebbe, Uganda where the UN is expected to perform some procedures before the bodies are flown home,” said Chiphwanya,.
The Malawi military said the attack last week on its peacekeeping soldiers in DR Congo won’t break them but instead had increased their zeal, bravery and commitment in discharging their duties.
The brave soldiers will be accorded full miltray honours, said Chiphwanya.
MDF identified the deceased as Sergeant Kambalame, 38, who was based at Malawi Armed Force College (Mafco) in Salima prior to his deployment to DRC; private Chauncy Chitete, 29, from Moyale Barracks in Mzuzu; private Benjamin Nsongela, 29, also from Moyale Barracks private Simplex Taferakaso, 31, from Changalume Barracks in Zomba.
Kambalame came from Maya Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kachere in Dedza and is survived by a wife and two children while Chitete was from Peter Village, T/A Mwenemusiku in Chitipa. He is survived by a wife and three children.
Nsongela, on the other hand, is from Chakhawo Village, T/A Tengani in Nsanje and is survived by a wife and three children while Taferakaso is from Kaumphawi Village, T/A Nsamala in Balaka.
Others who died in the peacekeeping mission awere identified as Lieutenant Aubrey Kachemwe ,35, from Moyale Barracks in Mzuzu and Corporal Jonathan Kapichiri,36, from Parachute Battalion in Salima.
The peacekeepers were supporting an offensive by local forces against an Islamist group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), officials said.
Eastern DRC has been plagues by banditry and armed insurrections for more than two decades, since the fall of the military ruler Mobutu Sese Seko, but there has been a surge in violence in the past year.
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres expressed his “heartbreak” over the attack, which he called a war crime.
Malawi contribute to the longstanding 17,000-member peacekeeping force in violence-prone parts of the DRC.