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Congo: 'Indian, Pak peacekeepers smuggled gold'
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Indian peacekeepers turn saviours in Congo

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April 28, 2008 22:37 IST

Peacekeepers from India and Pakistan smuggled gold, ivory and gave arms to militias fighting in eastern Congo, BBC reported on Monday, a charge which Indian officials said was being investigated by the UN.

The British Broadcasting Corporation alleged that the UN had covered up claims that its troops in Congo had indulged in these activities, claiming it had new eye-witness accounts to refute UN claims that no weapon transfers had taken place.

The report came against the backdrop of India having its biggest-ever peacekeeping contingent in the troubled African country.

India has more than 5,000 troops deployed out of 17,000 peacekeepers in Congo along with a contingent of air force helicopter gunships and troop carriers.

The BBC first made similar allegations more than a year ago and the UN launched an investigation into the report that its troops were involved in gold smuggling and arms trafficking.

The BBC report claimed that Indian peacekeepers operating around the town of Goma had direct dealings with the militia responsible for the Rwandan genocide, and now living in exile in eastern Congo.

"Indians traded gold, bought drugs from militias and flew a UN helicopter into the Virunga national park, where they exchanged ammunition for ivory," BBC investigation claimed.

BBC also claimed Pakistani peacekeepers in the eastern town of Mongbwalu were involved in the illegal trade in gold with FNI militia, providing them with weapons.

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