Bodies of soldiers killed in South Sudan reach India

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) The bodies of five Indian UN peacekeepers killed in South Sudan reached India early Thursday.

“The bodies of the five martyrs have been brought back. The bodies will be sent to the respective villages,” Maj. Gen. S.L. Narasimhan, the additional director general (Public Information) at army headquarters, told the media here.

The five peacekeepers – Lt. Col. Mahipal Singh, Naib Subedar Shiv Kumar Pal, Lance Naik Nand Kishore Joshi, Havaldar Bharat Sasmal and Havaldar Hira Lal were killed – and four others were injured when their convoy was ambushed by a rebel group in Jonglei in South Sudan early Tuesday.

The five soldiers belonged to the Mechanized Infantry and Mahar regiments.

Lt. Col. Mahipal Singh hailed from Haryana, Naib Subedar Shiv Kumar Pal and Havaldar Hira Lal from Uttar Pradesh, Lance Naik Nand Kishore Joshi from Uttarakhand and Havaldar Bharat Samsal from West Bengal.

Army officers said that the bodies arrived by a UN aircraft at 5 am.

The Uttar Pradesh government Thursday announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs.20 lakh each to the families of Havaldar Hira Lal and Naib Subedar Shiv Kumar Pal.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav expressed his condolences to their families.

The mortal remains of Shiv Kumar Pal, who hailed from Pratapgarh, arrived by a special flight in Lucknow and was received by army and civil administration officials.

Pal is survived by his aged parents, wife Madhu, who works for the National Commission for Women (NCW), and two children.

Havaldar Hira Lal belonged to Bulandshahr.

The Indian Army has contributed to UN peacekeeping operations around the world for over six decades and has currently over 7,000 troops on four missions.

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