By Md. Kamruzzaman
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) - Three members of Bangladesh’s armed forces engaged in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic were killed Tuesday and another was injured when their vehicle hit an explosive device.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Bangladesh army, in a statement identified the killed peacekeepers as Jasim Uddin, 31, Jahangir Alam, 26, and Sharif Hossain, 26.
Their patrol commander, Major Ashraful Haque, also sustained injuries, the statement added.
Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said the incident took place while the peacekeepers were on patrol in the Koui-Bohong axis, around five kilometers (three miles) from the mission's temporary base in Ouhadm-Pende prefecture.
He added that the UN Secretary-General conveys his deepest condolences to the families of the peacekeepers and the government of Bangladesh.
The ISPR in a statement said that immediately after the incident, the injured soldiers were rushed to Minuska Hospital in Bouar, located 144 kilometers (89 miles) from the scene, where three of them succumbed to their injuries. It added that the condition of Major Ashraful Haque, who is undergoing treatment, is stable now.
According to the statement, an infantry battalion of the Bangladesh Army was deployed in the town of Bouar in western Central African Republic and they have been engaged in peacekeeping operations across a wide area since Nov. 9, 2021.
"The Bangladesh army's peacekeepers are currently performing their duties in eight African states, maintaining the highest professionalism and upholding the dignity of Bangladesh before the world," the ISPR said.
Bangladesh is one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping operations.
According to army headquarters, until May 2022, 6,825 officials and rankers are currently serving in the UN missions in 14 countries, while 1,833,378 others have so far completed their 54 missions in different capacities in 43 countries once or multiple times.