By Kylie M Tsudama
Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa
KINSHASA, DR Congo – A UN helicopter flying over northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) on Thursday was fired at, injuring five people on board. This is the second time this week that gunmen fired at UN helicopters.
According to MONUC, the UN peacekeeping mission in DR Congo, the helicopter was in the town of Dongo in Equateur province delivering supplies to twenty recently deployed Ghanaian peacekeepers. Five of the thirty onboard were injured and the pilot quickly took off and landed in neighboring Republic of Congo instead. Upon arrival in Republic of Congo, those injured were tended to.
The helicopter “was attacked while it was on the ground. It seems there were five people wounded but their lives are not in danger,” said MONUC spokesman Madnodje Mounoubai.
Armed movement Patriots-Resistance of Dongo claimed the attacks. The movement, in a confused statement, denounced MONUC’s alleged “complicity” with Rwandan occupation forces, or “Mafia-like imperialists,” who the movement alleges is in the area.
“The Patriots-Resistance have again inflicted a resounding failure on the occupation forces and have retaken the town of Dongo. A MONUC helicopter engaged in the fighting was hit by our fire,” said Patriots-Resistance spokesman Ambroise Lobala Mokobe.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack that left three peacekeepers, a member of the Congolese national police, and a civilian pilot wounded.
“The Secretary-General calls on the Government of the DRC to ensure that the perpetrators of the attack against MONUC are held accountable,” said his spokesperson.
Additionally, the Secretary General has charged MONUC with assisting the government in protecting the civilian villagers in Dongo, and has encouraged the government to move toward a peaceful resolution of these violent clashes. He has pledged MONUC’s assistance to the government in reaching a peaceful end to the violence.
The fighting in Dongo escalated last month when over 100 people were killed, including forty-seven policemen. The local Lobala and Boba tribes are fighting over fishing rights. At least 50,000 people have fled their homes because of the violence.
For more information, please see:
Xinhua – UN Chief Condemns Attack on UN Helicopter in DR Congo – 28 November 2009
AP – UN Helicopter Attacked in DR Congo; 4 Wounded – 27 November 2009
UN News Centre – Ban Deplores Attack on UN Helicopter in DR Congo – 27 November 2009
AFP – Armed Group Claims Firing at UN Chopper in DR. Congo – 26 November 2009
Reuters – Congo Gunmen Fire at U.N. Helicopter, Five Wounded – 26 November 2009