One peacekeeper killed in DRC after UN chopper comes under fire

A United Nations peace­keeper has been killed in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) when a helicopter operated by the peace­keeping force came under fire midair on Sunday, the UN mission called MONUSCO said.

The helicopter was able to land in the provincial capital, Goma. It was attacked after taking off from the city of Beni in the early afternoon.

Another peacekeeper was severely wounded in the attack, MONUSCO said in a statement, which did not say who might be responsible. The state­ment did not say what weapon was fired at the helicopter or what caused the casualties.

Authorities in Kinshasa blamed the M23 rebel group, which is in frequent combat with the Congolese army in the region, for attacking the aircraft. M23 spokesperson, Willy Ngoma, de­nied it and told Reuters news agency it was not over M23 territory.

A UN peacekeeping mission of about 18,200 personnel has been deployed in the eastern DRC since taking over from a previous UN op­eration in 2010. Its mandate includes supporting the DRC government’s effort to stabilise a region wracked by rebel violence. —News Agencies

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