Bunia – A UN peacekeeper was killed on Tuesday during an operation in the northeastern region of Ituri in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the UN mission in the country said.
The peacekeeper’s nationality was not mentioned. A week earlier, a UN helicopter crashed in the neighbouring North Kivu province, killing eight peacekeepers.
“We confirm the death of a blue helmet this morning in Ituri during an operation,” Ndeye Khady Lo, the deputy spokesperson for the UN mission, known by its French acronym MONUSCO, told AFP.
Today again, @UNPeacekeeping lost a peacekeeper from Nepal as a result of an attack on @MONUSCO in Ituri, #DRC. My condolences to the family and the government of #Nepal. Amidst rising violence, MONUSCO is providing security & life-saving services. Peacekeepers are #NotATarget. pic.twitter.com/6jw3gWKwFR
— Jean-Pierre Lacroix (@Lacroix_UN) April 5, 2022
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He died “in an exchange of gunfire during an operation against armed groups in Bali village” north east of Bunia, the main city in the province, said Jean-Tobie Okala, the MONUSCO information officer in Ituri.
“The blue helmet and his colleagues were fully engaged in their mission to protect civilians. He died on the battlefield”.
Ituri and North Kivu have been ravaged by attacks from several militias and rebel groups.
Last Tuesday, eight UN peacekeepers six Pakistanis, a Russian and a Serb died when their Puma helicopter with the UN mission MONUSCO crashed while on reconnaissance over the troubled Ituri region.
The helicopter came down in the Tchanzu area of Rutshuru Territory, where the army and the M23 rebels had been fighting the day before.
The M23 its name derives from “March 23 Movement” emerged years ago from an ethnic Tutsi Congolese rebellion in North Kivu that was once supported by Rwanda and Uganda.
Picture: Twitter/ @Lacroix_UN