A soldier of the Napelese contingent to the United Nations Organisation Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) was killed on Tuesday, April 5 by Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) rebels during an operation in Ituri.
A police officer was also hacked to death with a machete on Monday, April 4 during an attack by a yet to be identified armed gang on a control post in Kyambogho, Lubero territory in North Kivu.
“We confirm the death of a Blue Helmet this morning in Ituri during an operation,” said Ndeye Khady Lo, assistant spokesperson of MONUSCO in Kinshasa on Tuesday.
The assistant spokesperson of the UN Secretary General, Farhan Haq, confirmed in New York that the UN soldier was killed by CODECO rebels.
“The UN soldier died during an operation against armed groups in the village of Bali, in Djugu territory to the north of Bunia, chief town of Ituri province,” said Jean Tobie Okala who is in charge of MONUSCO information in Ituri.
“The Blue Helmet and his colleagues were in full exercise of their mission, that of protecting civilians. He died in the field of battle,” Okala added, noting that the UN Secretary General “recalls that attacks against the forces maintaining peace are susceptible to constitute war crimes.”
“The UN Secretary General calls on Congolese authorities to carry out an investigation and to bring to justice those responsible.”
Ituri and North Kivu provinces have for several years been the scenes of violence perpetrated by armed groups especially the CODECO which claims to defend members of the Lendu community.
On Tuesday last week, eight UN troops among whom were six Pakistanis, one Serbian and one Russian were killed in a helicopter crash during a reconnaissance mission. The M23 rebel movement is suspected to have shot down the helicopter.
Meanwhile, a police officer was killed on Monday at the Kyambogho control post in Lubero territory at the southern entrance into Butembo in North Kivu.
According to Col. Habamungu Bisomoke Jean-Paul, Commander of the police in Lubero territory, the assailants killed the police officer who was on guard duty at the control post with the help of a knife. They took away his gun.
“He was killed by criminals but none of the attackers was captured, ”Col. Jean-Paul added.
This is the second armed attack reported in Kyambogho since the beginning of this year. In Jan., militiamen attacked a control post in the region killing one security agent while four of their colleagues were also killed.
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