UN envoy condemns attack against blue helmets in eastern DR Congo

25 October 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Roger Meece, has strongly condemned this weekend’s attack against blue helmets in the volatile far east of the African nation. Late Saturday evening, some 50 men armed with assault rifles and other weapons advanced towards the base of the UN peacekeeping base in Rwindi, some 140 kilometres north of Goma, the capital of the restive North Kivu province, according to a press release issued by the world body’s mission (MONUSCO).Despite repeated warnings from blue helmets, the gunmen continued their advance on the base, opening fire on peacekeepers and trying to enter the site at several different points. Blue helmets returned fire and the ensuing clash lasted nearly 20 minutes, ending with the attackers taking flight.Eight of the perpetrators were killed in the incident, while two others were injured. Their identities have yet to be established. Two assault rifles, hundreds of cartridges, three machetes, a grenade, explosives and other weapons were recovered after the incident.The DRC army, known as FARDC, has since captured and detained several of those who took part in the attack. A joint investigation with Congolese authorities is under way to establish the identities and motives of the attackers, who, according to early indications, appear to be part of the Mai-Mai militia group.MONUSCO welcomed yesterday’s announcement in Rwindi by North Kivu’s Military Prosecutor that he will initiate immediate judicial action against the perpetrators. In a press release, the mission also underlined that it remains determined to continue its efforts to support the Congolese Government consolidate peace in the vast African nation.

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