Events 2023-11-15T08:31:29+02:00
Ukrainian news
I'm 23 years old and I saw death of 6 million of my fellow citizens, - a resident of the DR Congo

I'm 23 years old and I saw death of 6 million of my fellow citizens, - a resident of the DR Congo

Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ukrainian peacekeepers, Ukrainian contingent helicopters, Africa

During the performance of their duties, Ukrainian peacekeepers interact with representatives of dozens of other nationalities, which are represented by various humanitarian organizations here, serving as part of UN national contingents, as well as with local population.

Today we had a conversation with one of civilian employees at Goma airfield, where part of Ukrainian contingent helicopters is stationed and hetold us his story.

The young man wished to remain anonymous and asked not to place his photo in Internet: "You never know what consequences one action can cause," - he explained. "Here in Africa, it's better for you to be a bit paranoid (laughs)."

"Knowledge of history is not my strongest side, and I do not know all the details, but it's painful for me to think about the fate of my people. I'm only 23 years old but I saw the death of six million of my fellow citizens. I experienced the First Congolese War, a genocide that has flown from neighboring Rwanda, and then the Second Congolese War. But the worst thing is that people are still dying: from dіseases without being able to receive professional treatment or proper eating, from local militants who rape, rob, kill, tak people into slavery.

"My country changed its name formany times: it was the Kingdom of the Congo, a Belgian colony, it was Zaire, now it is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and it's difficult to understand what its history is true, and without history the nation is like a tree without roots. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is an extremely rich for natural resources: it has gold, precious stones, a lot of valuable minerals, among which - the world's largest supply of coltan - a mineral, used in createon of the most of modern gadgets. It is the second largest state in Africa, as one-third of Europe big - it could have been a world power, but its treasures became its curse. Many players want to control these resources, using hands of militants, so my country is a battlefield of a war that never ends. "

After asking about believe in a better future, the eyes of our companion filled with a hope: "Of course I believe! I could move to a more secure and rich state with better prospects a long time ago, but I love my country and believe in it. The UN mission here only reinforces this belief. I can not speak for all Congolese people, but personally, I'm calmer when peacekeepers are somewhere not far from me, or when I see your helicopters in the sky. Now the withdrawal of peacekeepers could cause the rise to a new outbreak of violence, but I believe that time will come when my country become a peaceful territory, where the rule of law will reign, as it has happened in Liberia: the peace was brought there by UN, including by Ukrainian peacekeepers. I really hope that it will happen in our country as well. Untill that time, you are the force that provides at least some kind of stability here. "

"I heard about the war between Russia and Ukraine, I heard that part of your homeland is occupied. And at the same time, you are here, helping us, fulfilling your duty to the international community. For this we are in an unpaid debt to you. You, like no other, know the price of freedom and, perhaps, that is why you work so devotedly to bring it to us. Working here, at the airfield, I hear how other contingents are talking about you - you are strongly renown here. "

When we asked to give us an example, the young man told the following story: "Well, quite recently, I heard a conversation among soldiers who were waiting for relocation to some other place along with their unit. One of them asked whose helicopters will transport them. When he was told that it will be Ukrainian, helicopters he said, "Thank you, Allah" (laughs). Believe me, the fact that there are dozens of nationalities speaking a lot of languages here, but greeting you with the words "Glory to Ukraine", that is for reason".

Assistant commander of the 18th separate helicopter detachment on communications with mass media, 1st Lieutenant Andrii Ostapiuk.