State planning to rent aircraft to evacuate Irish troops from Congo – The Irish Times

The Government is making plans to rent an aircraft to evacuate Irish army officers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) amid growing fears for their safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Two Irish army officers are among the almost 20,000 peacekeepers currently deployed to the United Nation’s MONUSCO mission in the central African country. The act as observers in the city of Goma on the border with Rwanda.

The officers, a captain and a lieutenant colonel, were due to rotate home as normal around now but this was postponed for three months following a request from the UN Secretary to suspend all peacekeeper rotations to prevent the spread of coronavirus in developing nations.

However this week, Defence Forces Chief of Staff Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett told the Government there are immediate fears for the troops’ safety due to growing tensions in the country relating to the pandemic. Other countries such as

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