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Lt Gen Prakash to head United Nations peacekeeping force in Congo

Lieutenant General Chander Prakash has been appointed the Force Commander for the UN peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. He will succeed Lt Gen Babacar Gaye of Senegal.

world Updated: Jul 10, 2010 10:50 IST

Lieutenant General Chander Prakash has been appointed the Force Commander for the UN peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon.

Lt Gen Prakash, who is currently in-charge of India's UN peacekeeping operations at the Ministry of Defence, has served his country during a distinguished military career spanning some thirty-seven years.

He will succeed Lt Gen Babacar Gaye of Senegal.

Lt Gen Prakash trained at India's National Defence and Military Academies prior to being commissioned into the artillery branch of the Indian Armed forces in 1973.

He was Senior Sector Operations Officer in the United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG).

He is married and has two daughters.

There are presently 18,884 military personnel and 1,223 police personnel in Democratic Republic of Congo. Among the South Asian countries troops have come from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Indian personnel in MONUSCO have completed 23 community support projects worth more than $200,000 in the last eight months, according to the UN.

Projects tackled by the Indian Brigade since July 2009 include, health care, sports facilities and bridge construction.

The Indians are also running the Bethesda Eye Hospital in Goma in partnership with an international NGO.

MONUSCO has been in Congo since 1999 following a ferocious war between the government and the rebels that claimed approximately four million lives.

A peace agreement was signed in 2003 but fighting continues in several parts of the country.

Projects that Indians have carried out include, a road linking Goma with the port, new bridgeworks to connect villages in remote areas, provision of corrugated iron for the reconstruction.

They have also constructed a community hall and passenger sheds for travellers, volleyball and basketball courts as well as a football ground at Vitshumbi, a basketball court at Kanyabayong as well education facilities have been improved at primary schools.