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Sierra Leone: UN Helicopter Crash

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    Six officers among 14 Pakistanis killed ... Staff Reporter ISLAMABAD, June 30: Fourteen Pakistani peacekeepers were killed when their helicopter crashed in
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2004
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      Six officers among 14 Pakistanis killed
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      Staff Reporter
      ISLAMABAD, June 30: Fourteen Pakistani peacekeepers were killed when
      their helicopter crashed in Sierra Leone on Tuesday during a UN
      peacekeeping operation. The UN officials said an investigation had
      been launched into the incident to ascertain the cause of the crash.

      A press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations
      Directorate (ISPR) here on Wednesday said the helicopter was on a
      routine flight when it was blinded by the jungle thicket and crashed
      into a hill eight kilometre short of its destination.

      The press release said the crash occurred near the city of Yengema, a
      small town in eastern Sierra Leone, at 3.17pm Pakistan time on
      Tuesday. The following are the names of Pakistani officials who died
      in the Tuesday crash: Lt-Col Riaz Ahmed Khokar, Lt-Col Ziauddin, Lt-
      Col Faizullah Khan, Maj Hasnain Anwar, Capt Waqas Ahmed Mirza, Capt
      Murtaza Khalil Siddiqui, Sepoy Mohammad Zulfiqar, Sepoy Nazir
      Mohammad, Signal Operator Iftikhar Ahmed, Havaldar AFM Mohammad
      Iqbal, Lance Havaldar DMT Mohammad Jehangir, Naik AFM Mohammad Amir,
      Lance Naik DMT Mohammad Jamil and OCU Ahmed Khan.

      The UN sources said the Russian MI-8 helicopter was on a flight from
      Hastings to Yengema with 21 passengers of the UN Mission in Sierra
      Leone (UNAMSIL) on board besides three pilots.

      All 24 passengers including the crew died on the spot. The ISPR said
      the MI8-MTV belonged to a Siberian-based UT Air Charter Company. The
      UN officials said a rescue operation had been undertaken and a
      UNAMSIL rescue helicopter was dispatched to the area. However, it was
      forced to land three kilometres from the crash site because of the
      terrain.

      Headed by Maj-Gen Sajjad Akram, Pakistan's contribution to the
      military and police contingent of peacekeepers in Sierra Leone is
      among one of the largest in the world. By the end of May, Sierra
      Leone had a total of 11,655 uniformed personnel including 11,286
      troops from UN member states.

      According to the UN Security Council resolution 1537 adopted on March
      30 this year, it was decided that only a residual UNAMSIL presence
      would remain in Sierra Leone with the troops strength to be reduced
      from February 2005 to a new ceiling of 3,250 troops, 141 military
      observers and 80 UN civilian police personnel.

      The sources said despite reduction of peacekeepers in Sierra Leone
      from December, Pakistan would still be contributing one infantry
      battalion to the UN peace mission.

      http://www.dawn.com/cgi-bin/dina.pl?file=top13.htm&date=20040701

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