Sunday, July 18, 2010

Army major under UN probe attempts suicide

An Indian Army major, who is under probe by the United Nations mission in Congo on sexual exploitation and abuse charges, allegedly attempted suicide, but is now out of danger.

Major R S Ghumman, who came under the scanner of the UN's Conduct and Discipline Unit (CDU) after he was allegedly found in the company of sex workers in a hotel there on July 6, tried to end his life "over the humiliation" he faced, army sources in the headquarters said in New Delhi on Saturday.

"The officer attempted to commit suicide and it took place about four or five days ago, reportedly over the humiliation he faced due to the probe against him. But we do not have information on the manner in which he made the attempt to end his life," the sources said.

During the course of questioning, Ghumman reportedly asked for a recess and was later found in a critical condition. The sources said they were not aware if he was found in the residential facilities or at the UN Mission's office, where he was being questioned.

Fellow officers and men noticed him and rushed him to a nearby hospital, they said. "He is out of danger now. He is safe and the questioning has re-started," they added. An Indian Army Brigade is in Congo as part of a UN Mission for peacekeeping operations in the civil war-torn nation.

Ghumman, belonging to the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles battalion, was with another officer from the Tunisian Army and the two were noticed getting out of the hotel with local women by an employee of the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).

After the employee reported the matter to the UN Mission, the investigations against him and the Tunisian officer were started for violating the rules, regulations and code of conduct for troops serving in the UN's Congo mission.

Visiting sex workers while serving under the UN flag is barred under the peace-keeping rules and code of conduct prescribed for the Congo mission. Ghumman is also under investigation for violating the curfew imposed in the North Kivu province and for venturing out of the residential facilities for UN troops at night, both offences under the UN laws for the mission in Congo. The major is on the verge of completing his tenure in Congo and is expected back in India soon. The Indian army too might initiate disciplinary proceedings against him based on the CDU's probe report, if the charges were proved against him.
Army major under UN probe attempts suicide

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