Mário Nunes.jpg

Body of Portuguese soldier killed fighting Islamic State finally repatriated for burial

The body of 22-year-old Portuguese soldier Mário Nunes, who went AWOL from his base in Beja last year to join the fight against ISIS, is finally on its way home.

According to Kurdistani website Rudaw.net, Nunes’ body was due to leave Erbil International Airport (Iraq) en-route for the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, after being released to a delegation from the Portuguese embassy.

National media has since reported that the coffin should arrive, either today (Friday) or tomorrow.

Nunes was killed near Manbij, Syria, last month “during an advance of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the Islamic State”, explains Rudaw (click here).

Nunes is attributed as being the first Portuguese to join Kurdish forces fighting ISIS.

Rudaw explains that the offensive in which he lost his life “captured hundreds of villages and vast territories from ISIS”.

Roj Khaboor of the Kurd’s YPG – the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syrian Kurdistan with which Nunes fought – has paid tribute to the young man whose family is believed to live in Sagres, saying “the Kurdish people are proud and honoured to have had an ally as brave and noble as Mário”.

Sol newspaper carried an in-depth report on Mário last year, explaining that if he ever returned to Portugal he would almost certainly have faced a court martial for desertion.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com