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Deadly attack on UN peacekeepers in DRC

December 8, 2017

Rebels in eastern DRC have carried out one of the deadliest attacks against UN forces in recent years. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called it "a war crime."

Kongo Friedenswächter ermordet
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/J. Delay

Rebels attacked a UN peacekeeping base in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's east on Thursday night, killing at least 15 soldiers and wounding more than 50 others.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the attack as "a war crime."

"Today is a very tragic day for the UN family," he said, speaking of his "outrage and utter heartbreak."

He urged Congolese authorities to carry out a swift investigation and find the perpetrators.

Suspected Islamist rebels

The UN mission, known as MONUSCO, said the raid was carried out by suspected militants from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). MONUSCO said it was planning a joint military response with the Congolese army but was also evacuating the wounded from the base in North Kivu's Beni territory.

The ADF is an Islamist group of insurgents from across the border in Uganda.

Most of the peacekeepers killed were from Tanzania, but at least five Congolese soldiers also died in the attack, which occurred about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the regional capital, Beni. The UN said at least two peacekeepers remained missing.

The base houses the UN's rapid intervention force, which has a rare mandate to launch offensive strikes. Because of that, the base and its soldiers have become frequent targets of the ADF.

The UN-backed Radio Okapi reported that the fight lasted four hours.

Almost 300 peacekeepers have been killed since the UN mission arrived in the battle-scarred country in 1999.

bik/msh (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)