Following a helicopter attack in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a South African peacekeeper was killed

Date:

Following a helicopter attack in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a South African peacekeeper was killed.

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Monday, February 06, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • In a statement released by his spokesperson, UN Secretary-General António Guterres strongly denounced the attack, which resulted in the death of the South African “blue helmet” and the injury of another.

  • Emergency takeoff According to news accounts, the critically hurt peacekeeper was able to keep flying and, along with the rest of the crew, managed to land at the airfield in the provincial capital of Goma.

  • Intense conflict in the region is said to have forced more than 500,000 people to flee since last March, and earlier this week, Pope Francis made his first visit to the DRC, asking for an end to the violence.

  • An agreement signed in November and called for the rebels’ withdrawal never materialised.

  • Such assaults on peacekeepers “may constitute a war crime under international law,” he noted.

In a statement released by his spokesperson, UN Secretary-General António Guterres strongly denounced the attack, which resulted in the death of the South African “blue helmet” and the injury of another.

Emergency takeoff

According to news accounts, the critically hurt peacekeeper was able to keep flying and, along with the rest of the crew, managed to land at the airfield in the provincial capital of Goma.

Who carried out the attack or what weapon was employed in the assault is still unknown.

There are numerous armed organisations in the eastern DRC, notably the rebel M23 force, which has recently been engaged in a significant offensive against government forces with the assistance of the UN mission there, known by its French acronym MONUSCO, as part of its duty to protect civilians.

During the violence committed by armed groups, hundreds of civilians—including women and children—have been slain.

Eight peacekeepers were killed in a helicopter crash in North Kivu province last March, where the Congolese army was heavily engaged in combat with M23.

Demand a prompt end to the conflict

Regional officials reiterated their demand for an immediate ceasefire by combatants participating in the eastern DRC at the East African Community meeting held on Saturday in Burundi. Authorities in Kigali emphatically reject the accusation that the Rwandan Government is helping the M23 rebels, which Kinshasa has made.

Since late October, M23 has taken control of several districts in the eastern DRC’s North Kivu province and has threatened to move on to the provincial capital.

Intense conflict in the region is said to have forced more than 500,000 people to flee since last March, and earlier this week, Pope Francis made his first visit to the DRC, asking for an end to the violence. An agreement signed in November and called for the rebels’ withdrawal never materialised.

In December, Bintou Keita, the head of MONUSCO and Special Representative to the DRC updated the Security Council and informed ambassadors that the security situation had “dramatically deteriorated” in recent weeks.

Nyiranzaba and her nine children take refuge in a tent after fleeing her village in Rutshuru territory, North Kivu province, DR Congo.Arlette Bashizi for UNICEF

Nyiranzaba and her nine children evacuate their hamlet in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and seek sanctuary in a tent.

Guterres pledges ongoing assistance

In his message, Mr. Guterres offered his sincere sympathies to the family of the slain peacekeeper and the South African government and people. He wished the injured victims of the dramatic helicopter landing a swift recovery.

Such assaults on peacekeepers “may constitute a war crime under international law,” he noted. He urged the Congolese authorities to look into the horrific attack and swiftly bring those responsible to justice.

The statement continued, “The Secretary-General emphasises that the United Nations will continue to help the Congolese Government and people in their efforts to bring about peace and stability in the east of the nation through his Special Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

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