Koppal family awaits body of son shot in South Sudan as Sushma Swaraj steps in.

TOI||HUBBALLI: He was hopeful to find love this year and start a family soon but little did 25-year-old Syed Farooq Basha Quadri know he wouldn’t live long enough to see his wishes come true.

Farooq, from Gangavathi in Koppal, Karnataka, was gunned down by rebel fighters on February 17 in a conflict zone some 900 km from South Sudan capital of Juba when he was travelling in a car. He was working in the country as an account supervisor with a private company for the past three years.

South Sudan is caught between a border dispute with its northern neighbour Sudan, and is facing an internal power battle between President Salva Kiir and former vice president Rick Machar.

“My son had assured us he would find a girl this year and marry in 2018. He was enthusiastic about starting a family and dreamt of doing something worthwhile for the nation. We still can’t believe he’s no more,” says Farooq’s father Syed Badruddin Quadri.

Farooq was an employee of drilling firm Omaski Sai Infrastructure Co Ltd for three years.

Recalling his last visit to Gangavathi, Badruddin says, “Farooq left for South Sudan last November after spending a long holiday here. We were aware about the unrest in the country but never imagined that our own son will be a victim. He had told us he worked in safer areas.”

“I was a supervisor in a sugar factory which shut a decade ago, following which I did paddy business and also worked as personal assistant of Gangavathi MLA Iqbal Ansari. We belong to a middle-class family and our financial condition is stable. Both my sons Farooq and Sajjad, who works in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), however, did not want to spend their lives on my earnings,” says Badruddin.

Farooq’s mother Nasreen Banu says: “Farooq used to spend his holidays mostly at my mother’s Kurnool (AP) home. We are three sisters and my father always asks for his grandchildren. He was with us last Muharram.”
“Our son-in-law Syed Peer Basha also works in South Sudan and is trying to bring Farooq’s body home. Sreekumar Menon, an official with the Indian Embassy in Juba, is also in touch with us. He has informed us that Farooq’s body was being airlifted to capital Juba. But in the absence of regular flight services to the country, delay is expected. Officials have assured us that efforts are being made to send Farooq’s body home as early as possible,” said Barduddin.
Responding to requests from the family, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in a social media post said: “We have spoken to the family of Syed Farooq Basha and promised all help.”
A statement from the United Nations Interim Security Forces for Abyei (UNISFA) meanwhile stated: ‘On February 17 at about 1500 hours while onboard a Toyota Land Cruiser heading to Goli from Diffra, passenger Farook Basha Syed and driver Mujahid Abdallah Juma were shot by an unknown armed men 10km north of Goli in Sector North. Both were workers of Omaski Sai Infrastructure Co Ltd and contractors of IOM. Farook received two gunshots and died immediately while Mujahid, who was shot in the right thigh, managed to reach Goli COB at about 1530 hours. A joint patrol from UNISFA headquarters was dispatched immediately. The body and the injured have been sent to UN Level II Hospital, Abyei.’

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