Members of an armed group opened fire on a UN helicopter in eastern Congo early Friday, wounding two South African peacekeepers, one seriously, the United Nations said. Dujarric said the helicopter that was attacked was able to land safely in Goma and that peacekeepers were receiving medical assistance.
Members of an armed group opened fire on a UN helicopter in eastern Congo early Friday, killing two South African peacekeepers, one gravely, the UN said.
According to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, the UN peacekeeping department believes the attack was carried out by M23 rebels in the Masisi district of the Karuba region of North Kivu province.
Eastern Congo has been battling armed violence for decades as more than 120 groups fight for power, land, and valuable mineral resources, while others try to protect their communities. Armed groups have long waged a campaign of violence in the mineral-rich region and have been accused of mass killings.
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The conflict escalated in late 2021 when the M23, which was largely inactive. But attacks were again launched to capture the area. The group reportedly receives support from neighboring Rwanda, although that country’s government denies ties.
Dujarric said the helicopter that was attacked was able to land safely in Goma and that peacekeepers were receiving medical assistance.
Bintou Keita, head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, strongly condemned the attack on an aircraft carrying the UN symbol. It comes almost a year after a similar attack killed a South African peacekeeper, he said in a statement.
Attacks on UN peacekeepers could amount to war crimes and Keita said the Congolese mission would make no efforts to work with Congolese authorities to bring to justice those responsible for the attack.