An attack on United Nations peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo killed at least 14 and injured another 53. Four more remain missing, and a further five Congolese soldiers were also killed.
CGTN’s Nick Harper reports.
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The attack took place in North Kivu, in the east of the country when rebel fighters approached a UN operating base. The UN said the fighting lasted for three hours after the base came under attack.
The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group is suspected, but not confirmed as having been behind the attack.
U.N. Secretary General António Guterres expressed what he called his “outrage and utter heartbreak” at the incident in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He offered his deepest condolences to the families of those killed, and said peacekeepers made enormous sacrifices in “the service of global peace.”
The Secretary-General also confirmed the magnitude of the attack, saying it was the worst in the Organization’s recent history.
“Today it is a very tragic day for the UN family,” Guterres said. “I condemn this attack unequivocally. These deliberate attacks against UN peacekeepers are unacceptable and constitute a war crime.”
He went on to call for an investigation and demanded justice for the victims.
U.N. Peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix announced his decision to travel to the DRC to show his support and speak to the Congolese government about ways to reduce these kinds of attacks. He said the ADF had recently stepped up its actions in the region, but they were just one group, operating against what he described as a “backdrop of an increase in armed groups.”
The U.N. peacekeeping mission in the DRC is its largest and most expensive, and has stepped up its response to armed groups.
However, as reported earlier this week by the Norwegian Refugee Council, the DRC is experiencing the worst displacement of any country worldwide. Over 1.7 million people have been forced to leave their homes this year alone, the equivalent of more than 5,500 people per day.