The families of the Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers killed by an explosive device in central Mali on Wednesday are mourning their loved ones.
The deceased were set to return to the country within just months, but now the families have to wait for the dead bodies instead.
Trooper Jamal of Dhumiahayatpur village in Chapainawabganj district left behind his wife and a five-year-old son. His wife Shilpi Khatun is repeatedly breaking down since the news reached her around 11pm on Wednesday.
Jamal last talked to the family members on Monday. He was in the mission for about 9 months, and the family members were eagerly waiting for the day of his return which was looming near, in just three months.
On Thursday morning, the air of Jamal's village was still heavy with mourning.
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Clockwise from top-left, Trooper Raihan, Trooper Jamal, Warrant Officer Abul Kalam, and Lance Corporal Akhter | Courtesy
Trooper Raihan of Somasnari village in Pabna district was the father of two girls – the eldest of them is eight years old and has just started school. The news of his death had just reached the village when the Dhaka Tribune's Pabna correspondent made a visit there.
Raihan was in the mission for about 15-16 months and the family was awaiting his return in one month, according to his maternal cousin Nannu.
Also Read- Four Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers killed in Mali explosion
Warrant Officer Abul Kalam of Uttar Kolardonia village in Pirojpur district left behind his wife, a daughter, studying in the secondary level, and a son, a fourth grader.
His wife is a teacher of a local madrasah.
Kalam's paternal cousin Firoz Kibria told the Dhaka Tribune that the relatives and locals had not yet informed Kalam's wife and children about his death.
“They've only been informed that Kalam was injured. And the cable TV connection to that locality has been snapped since the morning,” Firoz said.
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Jamal's father Meser Ali, second from left in the front row, holding his grandson Shimul at the family home yard at Dhumiahayatpur village in Chapainawabganj on Thursday, March 1, 2018 | Dhaka Tribune
The other dead victim, Lance Corporal Akhter is from Magura. The deceased's wife Renu Begum, who along with her two daughters live in Boralidaha village under Shreepur upazila of the district, said she had received the sad news from one of the army officers on Thursday morning.
However, neither the district administration nor the police received any confirmation of the death Akhter until the filing of this report around 9pm on Thursday.
The four UN peacekeepers, all Bangladeshis, were killed and four others seriously wounded on Wednesday when the vehicle they were in hit an explosive device in central Mali.
Also Read- IED kills 3 Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers in Mali
The troops were driving on a road linking the towns of Boni and Douentza in the Mopti region, where six Malian soldiers were killed in a similar incident a day earlier, reported Reuters quoting an official statement of the UN mission (MINUSMA) stationed in Mali.
The mission said the death toll was provisional and could rise further.
Their statement also said the UN mission was reinforcing its security presence in central Mali, which has seen a surge in violence by Islamist militants, in cooperation with the country’s army as well as regional and international forces.
“These acts demonstrate (the militants’) disarray and in no way affect our determination to carry out its mandate,” said Mahamat Saleh Annadif, who heads the UN mission.
Earlier in September 2017, a similar IED killed three Bangladeshis on the very same UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.