UN Security Council condemns killing of civilian, peacekeeper in eastern DR Congo

UN Security Council condemns killing of civilian, peacekeeper in eastern DR Congo
# 30 August 2013 00:14 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The UN Security Council on Thursday strongly condemned renewed fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which has led to civilian casualties and the death of a Tanzanian peacekeeper, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

The Council "condemned in the strongest terms the repeated and targeted attacks by the M23 against civilians and MONUSCO, which have led to civilian casualties and loss of life, the death of a peacekeeper and the injury of several others, and damage to a MONUSCO ambulance," it said in a statement.

The attack occurred in the Kibati heights in North Kivu when the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) was supporting action by Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) to protect civilian-populated areas of Goma.

MONUSCO delivered mortar and artillery fire and engaged its attack helicopters, while the FARDC used attack helicopters, battle tanks and ground forces. The operation was still going on.

In the statement, the Council "expressed their condolences to the family of the peacekeeper killed in the attack, as well as to the government of the United Republic of Tanzania and to MONUSCO."

Moreover, the most powerful body of the UN called on the government of the DRC to swiftly investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The 15-nation council reiterated its demand that M23 and other armed groups "cease immediately all forms of violence and that their members immediately and permanently disband and lay down their arms," the statement said.

In this regard, the council members reiterated their readiness to "adopt additional targeted sanctions against those acting in violation of the sanctions regime and the arms embargo."

Over the past year, the M23, along with other armed groups, have clashed repeatedly with the FARDC. The rebels briefly occupied Goma in November 2012.

The fighting resumed in recent weeks, this time dragging in a group of Ugandan-based rebels. The clashes displaced more than 100, 000 people, exacerbating the region's ongoing humanitarian crisis, which includes 2.6 million internally displaced persons and 6.4 million in need of food and emergency aid.

In March, the Security Council authorized the establishment of the intervention brigade to carry out targeted offensive operations, with or without the FARDC, against armed groups that threaten peace in eastern DRC.

The strengthening of the MONUSCO mandate with the intervention brigade is designed to further support the political objectives of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region, a peace deal signed in February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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