A civilian was killed in a gunfire exchange on Saturday, July 3, 2021 between the Blue Helmets of the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) and irate youths in Avebe, a locality situated 65 kilometres south of Bunia in Northeast of Ituri province.
According to eyewitness accounts, the youths had come out in their numbers to prevent a UN helicopter from landing to evacuate a sick MONUSCO official for medical treatment elsewhere.
“For unknown reasons, rumours circulated saying the MONUSCO helicopter was coming to deposit militia of the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) there,” Tobi Okala, the MONUSCO Public Information Officer in Ituri revealed.
“The Blue Helmets were shot at. There was an exchange of fire and as it was in the night, one is bound to ask whether it was during the exchange of fire that bullets hit civilians. It is said four or five persons were hit with one unfortunately dying in hospital, which we very much regret,” the UN information officer said.
Okala said the UN officials were placed in a situation of legitimate defense.
Confirming that one civilian was killed and four others wounded, Ndrundro Masumbuko, the President of the civil society organisation in Avebe, told HumAngle that the Blue Helmets shot at civilians “with the participation of the Congolese national police.”
“It is regrettable. This is the second time that MONUSCO tried to land in Avebe between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. forcing the population to resist the landing of the helicopter,” the UN press official revealed without giving reasons for the refusal of the population to allow the helicopter land.
MONUSCO has promised to carry out an investigation into the unfortunate incident.
Originally a Ugandan Moslem outfit, the ADF has been terrorising North Kivu for the past 25 years.
The group is considered as the most murderous armed group present in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and especially since 2013 in the region of Beni where they are blamed for a series of massacres.
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