Democratic Republic of the Congo

DRC Government Blames M23 Rebel Group For Attack On MONUSCO Helicopter

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) government on Monday blamed M23 rebels for an attack on a helicopter that killed a United Nations peacekeeper on the outskirts of the city of Goma, the capital of the eastern North Kivu province, reported Reuters.

A helicopter operated by the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) came under fire on Sunday after taking off from Beni. A South African peacekeeper was killed and another was wounded in the attack.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. But Kinhasa blamed the M23 rebels for the attack.

In the statement, government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said that the attack on the helicopter took place in the area that is under the control of the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels, supported by the Rwandan Army (RDF).

The DRC government spokesman said the latest attack by the M23/RDF coalition is part of a deliberate strategy to harm the UN peacekeepers.

Kinshasa appealed to the UN Security Council to impose immediate sanctions against the M23 and their Rwandan allies for this violence against MONUSCO personnel and the Congolese people.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also strongly condemned the attack.

In a statement on Sunday, he said that attacks against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime under international law, and called on the Congolese authorities to investigate the attack and bring all those responsible to justice.

MONUSCO, which consists of over 18,000 personnel, has been deployed in eastern Congo since taking over from a previous U.N. operation in 2010. Its mandate includes supporting the DRC government’s effort to stabilize the region.

But the mission faced violent protests against insecurity over the past year. The protestors accuse MONUSCO and a regional force set up in April last year of taking enough measures to protect civilians and end the violence.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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