New Delhi, Apr 11 (PTI): The bodies of five Indian peacekeepers who were killed in an ambush in South Sudan on Tuesday reached here early this morning.
Four other personnel, who were injured in the attack, have also been brought back in a UN chartered aircraft.
The five army personnel killed in the incident were Lt Col Mahipal Singh, Naib Subedar Shiv Kumar Pal, Havaldar Hira Lal, Havaldar Bharat Singh and Sepoy Nand Kishore. They belonged to the 6 Mahar regiment and the 9 Mechanised Infantry battalion.
The body of Lt Col Singh, who belongs to Mahendragarh in Haryana, was taken to his native place in an ambulance by road. The IAF’s AN-32 and Avro aircraft would be used to send the bodies to far off places such as Pithorgarh in Uttarakhand and Midnapore in West Bengal.
There are around 2,200 Indian Army personnel comprising two battalions, one based in Jonglei and the other in Malakkal, Upper Nile, on the border with Sudan.
UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon has condemned the attack saying it could amount to a war crime. The South Sudan Government has blamed followers of rebel leader David Yau Yau for the ambush.
Government forces have been battling the rebels in Jonglei while UN peacekeepers are trying to maintain order and minimise civilian causalities.
Thousands thronged the Naini Saini air strip here in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand as the mortal remains of Nand Kishore Joshi was flown in this afternoon. An IAF chopper brought the body from Bareilly. Joshi was a resident of Barabe village, about 22 km from Pithoragarh, on the Indo-Nepal border. He is survived by his wife and a five-year-old son.
Later, the mortal remains of the jawan were consigned to flames with full military honours at Rameshwar Ghat cremation ground.
“We are proud of his sacrifice in the line of duty but are at the same time overcome with grief that he is no more,” Joshi’s younger brother Dhirendra said in a voice choked with emotion.