A ‘blue helmet’ dies in an attack on a UN mission helicopter in eastern DRC


A United Nations blue helmet has died and another has been seriously injured in a shooting attack that occurred this Sunday against a helicopter of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that had departed from the city of Beni, in the province northeast of North Kivu, the epicenter of the armed violence that devastates the African country.

The helicopter, MONUSCO reports on its Twitter account, was attacked early in the afternoon when it was leaving for Goma in an incident that resulted in the death of one of the crew members and seriously injured a colleague.

The device, however, ended up landing in the city of Goma, the provincial capital and original destination of the flight.

In its statement, MONUSCO expresses “its most sincere condolences to the family and country of origin of the deceased peacemaker” before “strongly” condemning a “cowardly attack” against the device, clearly identified as belonging to the United Nations.

MONUSCO has not reported the nationality of the blue helmet but sources from the Actualité portal point out that he could be South African, in a fact that has not been officially confirmed.

The UN peacekeeping mission recalls that attacks against blue helmets “may constitute a war crime” and ensures that it will spare no efforts together with the Congolese authorities “so that the perpetrators of this atrocious act are brought to justice.”

This attack takes place a few hours after the end of the extraordinary summit held by the heads of state of East Africa in Burkina Faso, in which they declared their intention to strengthen the peace process in North Kivu, the scene for months of bloody fighting between the Congolese Army and the rebel group of the March 23 Movement.

The meeting resulted in the commitment to create new working instruments to guarantee the definitive cessation of hostilities that have pitted the Congolese government against neighboring Rwanda, accused of providing support to the M23 that the Kigali government has categorically rejected, while more than half a million people have been forced to leave their homes by violence.

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