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UN peacekeepers killed in DR Congo.

8/19/2010 4:02:18 AM

Three UN peacekeepers from the Indian army have been killed in a raid in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Dozens of suspected rebels attacked a UN peacekeeping base early on Wednesday, killing three and wounding seven other peacekeepers.

Virendra Singh, a spokesman for the Indian army, said up to 50 rebels attacked the base

in Kirumba, in North Kivu province.

Nearly 4,000 Indian army soldiers are part of the UN-Congo peacekeeping mission, which has about 20,000 people from various countries.

Jado Ikosi, a human rights activist who lives near the Kirumba peacekeeping base, told the Associated Press news agency that gangs entered the base after killing the guard with a spear.

Ikosi said locals heard gunshots, but that the attackers had fled the scene by the time people awoke in the morning.

Heavy MONUC losses

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, condemned the attack and called for Congo's government to launch an immediate investigation.

He also sent condolences to the Indian government and the families of the three soldiers, and expressed his support for the UN peacekeeping mission. The UN security council issued a similar statement.

The UN mission in Congo, known as MONUC, has lost more than 100 peacekeepers since 1999.

Congo's president has said that he wants all the peacekeepers out before September 2011. The UN approved a partial withdrawal earlier this year.

John Holmes, the UN humanitarian chief, has warned that violence may spiral out of control if the peacekeepers all leave.

Rebels ousted longtime dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997, then turned on each other in back-to-back civil wars that became an international scramble for the country's minerals and drew in soldiers from more than a half-dozen African nations.

The $1.35 billion-a-year UN mission helped hold DR Congo's first democratic elections in 40 years in 2006, although results were disputed and critics said the process favored the incumbent, Joseph Kabila.

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Publication:Aljazeera.net
Date:Aug 19, 2010
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