Australia UN says attack on MONUSCO base in DRC could be a war crime
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The United Nations has stressed that the attack perpetrated on Tuesday against a base of the UN Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Mission in the province of North Kivu (east), which resulted in the death of a 'blue helmet' and two policemen of the mission, could amount to a war crime, in the context of protests in recent days against the peacekeeping troops in the African country.
The deputy spokesman of the UN Secretary General, Farhan Haq, has indicated that "any attack directed against 'blue helmets' could amount to a war crime", for which he has asked the Congolese authorities to "investigate these incidents and quickly bring those responsible to justice".
Five die in big anti-UN protests in DR Congo
Peacekeepers are accused of shooting at protesters angry about the continued violence in the region.Local media have reported that they were shot by the peacekeepers.
Thus, he stressed that the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, "strongly condemns" the attack against the MONUSCO base in Butembo and has conveyed his "deep condolences" to the families of the victims, identified as an Egyptian 'blue helmet' and two Indian policemen.
"The Secretary-General also strongly condemns the violence against multiple UN bases in North Kivu since July 25, where individuals and groups forcibly entered and engaged in looting and destruction of UN property, in addition to looting and burning residences of UN personnel," Haq said in a statement.
In this line, he stressed that Guterres also regrets the death of demonstrators and reiterated "MONUSCO's commitment to work with the Congolese authorities to investigate these incidents", while recalling the Status of Forces Agreement with DRC, which "guarantees the inviolability of UN facilities".
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Finally, he said that Guterres "underlines the firm commitment of the UN to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the DRC." "The UN, through its special representative in DRC and its mission mandated by the UN Security Council, will continue to support the Government and the Congolese people in their efforts to achieve peace and stability in the east of the country," he reiterated.
MONUSCO has been stationed in northeastern Congo for more than 20 years in an attempt to shore up peace in the country despite the presence of some 130 armed groups vying for control of the DRC's vast natural wealth, including copper, cobalt, gold and diamonds.
DRCongo – DRC president calls for «re-evaluation» of UN mission withdrawal plan after latest incidents .
The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Felix Tshisekedi, has called on the Government to «re-evaluate» the withdrawal plan of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) after the latest demonstrations against the 'blue helmets' and the death of 36 people during the demonstrations. The Congolese Presidency has indicated in its official account on the social network Twitter that the president led on Monday "a meeting in inter-agency format" to "reassess the withdrawal plan of MONUSCO, under resolution 2556".