14 UN peacekeepers killed in Islamist attack in Congo

At least 14 UN peacekeepers were killed and 53 wounded when Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a local Islamist extremist group, armed with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades attacked their base late on Thursday in eastern Congo’s (DRC) North Kivu region.

Most of those killed were Tanzanian nationals. Many of those injured are in critical condition and the death toll may go up. The attackers destroyed two armoured personnel carriers, an ambulance and a truck.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres described it as the “worst attack” on UN peacekeepers in recent history. Such attacks are unacceptable and constitute a war crime, he said.

He asked DRC authorities to investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

“Today is a very tragic day for the UN family,” he said while offering condolences to the families of those killed and wishing speedy recovery to those injured.

The volatile North Kivu region, located in eastern DRC, has seen a number of attacks on UN peacekeeping forces. In October, two UN ‘blue helmets’ were killed and 18 were injured when their base was attacked by the ADF armed group, also known by the French acronym, FARDC.

Insurgents of the group, which was formed in 1995, are located in the mountainous DRC-Uganda border. The group employs child soldiers and has been blamed for gross human rights violations.

The UN peacekeeping mission called MONUSCO has been operating in Congo since 2010 and has deployed 16,000 military personnel across the country.