UN chief condemns killing of ‘blue helmets’ in DR Congo

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres [Getty Images]
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned the killing of seven peacekeepers serving in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Through his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief on Thursday noted that one Tanzanian and six Malawian ‘blue helmets’ were killed during joint operations carried out by the UN stabilization mission and the Government’s forces ( FARDC), against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) armed group in the east of the country, North Kivu’s Beni territory.

“Initial reports indicate that ten additional peacekeepers were wounded and another one is missing,” said Mr. Dujarric.

Guterres expressed his condolences to the peacekeepers’ families and the Malawian and Tanzanian Governments and their people.

He also wished a prompt recovery to the wounded and conveyed his strong support to the Malawian and Tanzanian contingents, which continue to protect local populations against attacks of the ADF and other armed groups.

Earlier this week, the UN warned that continued fighting in DR Congo could jeopardize the country’s presidential election scheduled for December 23.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for DR Congo, Leila Zerrougui, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that armed groups were still operating in parts of the country, noting that the provinces of Tanganyika and South Kivu, and parts of North Kivu, are most at risk.

The country is also battling an Ebola outbreak, one described as the worst ever in its history.

The Secretary-General called on all armed groups to stop their destabilizing activities that continue to add to the population’s suffering and further complicate the Ebola response.

“He calls on them to disarm immediately,” stressed his spokesperson.

“The Secretary-General encourages the Congolese authorities to continue taking the necessary measures to apprehend and bring to justice the perpetrators of attacks against civilians, national security forces and peacekeepers in the DRC,” concluded Mr. Dujarric.

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