By Nangayi Guyson – At least eight assailants have been killed after the rebels carried out a rare attack on a UN peacekeepers’ base in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo over the weekend, said an emailed statement from the UN mission Monusco.
About 50 men armed with AK47 rifles and locally made weapons… deliberately opened fire on the peacekeepers and attempted to force their way into the base at several sites.
“In reaction to this hostile attitude and in accordance with their rules of engagement, the blue helmets in turn opened fire on the attackers,” said the statement. Separately, a Monusco spokesperson said there were no casualties on the UN side.
Monusco said first indications suggested the attackers were from a Mai Mai militia group and that the national FARDC army had captured some suspects. Peacekeepers recovered two AK47s, three machetes, a grenade and explosives, it said the statement.
Despite withdrawing 1 494 peacekeepers this year, at 17 625 troops, the UN mission is the world’s largest UN-backed government operations against rebels meant to end in March have once again been extended as the conflict rumbles on.
The night assault on the base in Rwindi, 135km north of the regional capital Goma, is only the second such attack on a UN base and comes after three Indian peacekeepers were killed in a similar attack in August.