Free Press Journal

Share details of ex-UN chief killed in plane crash, jurist tells India


United Nations : An eminent jurist has appealed to India to share any information it may have on a plane crash that killed former Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, which he said was possibly the result of “hostile action”.

The request to India was contained in the report by former Tanzanian Chief Justice Mohamed Chande Othman on the September 1961 crash that was released on Wednesday.

Othman said that “given the decolonisation and geopolitical situation of the Congo in the 1960s and contributions made to UN operations” India may hold relevant information about the crash 56 years ago while Hammarskjold was on a crucial mission to resolve the Congo crisis.

India was a major player in the UN peacekeeping operations in Congo at that time, contributing around 4,700 troops to the mission.

Othman was asked by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to look into the latest information emerging about the crash, which had been the subject of several investigations and myriad theories.

Othman said that “it appears plausible that an external attack or threat may have been a cause of the crash” near Ndola in what is now Zambia and was then the British-controlled Northern Rhodesia.

The Swedish DC-6 aircraft crashed while Hammarskjold, the second head of the UN, was on his way to Ndola for negotiations to end the civil war that broke out in the newly independent Congo when the Western-backed Katanga province seceded.