Tributes paid to survivor of Niemba massacre in Congo
TRIBUTES have been paid to Ballyfermot man Tom Kenny, a survivor of the Niemba massacre in the Congo in 1960, reports Maurice Garvey.
Former trooper Tom Kenny, along with Joe Fitzpatrick, became well-known after he survived the ambush in November 1960.
It was the first incident in which Irish soldiers serving with the United Nations (UN) lost their lives in combat.
Up to 11 men from A Company of the 33rd battalion were ambushed by Luba tribesmen, known as Balubas, at a bridge near Niemba.
Eight Irish peacekeepers were killed during the incident, while another died in a separate action.
The Dublin Central Branch, Royal British Legion, posted their condolences on the passing of Mr Kenny,
“Tom Kenny and Joe Fitzpatrick were the only men who survived the ambush. Following an investigation into the incident, a detailed report was presented to the Minister for Defence in 2006,” said the branch.
“On the basis of this, Mr Kenny and Mr Fitzpatrick received apologies from then Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea.
“Beloved husband of the late Rose. He will be very sadly missed by his loving children and their spouses, grandchildren and their spouses, great-grandchildren, extended family, and friends.”
In 2009, Mr Kenny settled his High Court action over the 2006 report prepared for the Minister for Defence into the greatest loss of life of Irish soldiers on UN peacekeeping duties.
The ambush was the subject of a bestselling book, The Peacemakers of Niemba, by Tom McCaughren.
Mr Kenny passed away peacefully at Our Lady’s Hospice in the presence of his family on October 30.