The United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) today held a memorial service for two UN military observers from India who died in a bus crash in Uganda last week.
The bodies of Lt. Col. Simhadri Raja and Maj. Sandeep Sharma were flown back to the Mission's headquarters in Kinshasa from Kampala on Saturday. Their remains will be repatriated to India later this week, according to UN officials.
Over the weekend the deputy chief of MONUC, Lena Sundh, attended a mass burial ceremony in Uganda for the crash victims. She sent condolences from the UN to all the bereaved families, thanked the Ugandan officials for their assistance, and paid special tribute to the MONUC observers.
Meanwhile on Saturday, MONUC chief Amos Ngongi witnessed the departure from Kinshasa of the first commercial barges to travel the Congo River in over four years up to the northern Equateur province.
The 12 barges, which will be escorted by UN units, will carry fuel and spare parts to factories in the province. On their trip down river, the barges will bring back to the capital timber, rice, palm oil and other products.
At the end of April, the Congolese business leaders signed an agreement with the DRC Government and representatives of the two main rebel groups - Movement for the Liberation of the Congo and the Congolese Rally for Democracy - to reopen river barge traffic.