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15 UN peacekeepers killed in DR Congo

GOMA -UNS : The United Nations suffered its worst attack on a peacekeeping mission in nearly a quarter of a century on Friday when suspected Ugandan rebels attacked a base in the restive Democratic Republic of Congo, killing at least 15 peacekeepers.

The UN Security Council said the peacekeepers, who were all from neighbouring Tanzania, were killed in the North Kivu province late Thursday, alongside five Congolese soldiers, with 53 personnel wounded.

UN chief Antonio Guterres led an outpouring of outrage over the deadly ambush, calling it a “heinous” act.

“I condemn this attack unequivocally. These deliberate attacks against UN peacekeepers are unacceptable and constitute a war crime,” he said in a statement.

Heather Nauert, spokeswoman for the State Department, said Washington was “appalled by the horrific act”.

The attack is the worst loss of life to a UN peacekeeping force since 1993 when 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in Somalia during clashes with a local warlord.

DR Congo’s huge eastern region has long been wracked by violence, but fighting between government soldiers and militia groups, as well as inter-ethnic clashes, has increased significantly this year.

North Kivu province, which borders Uganda and Rwanda, has seen a particular uptick in killings and kidnappings between rival ethnic groups.

The UN in October declared a level 3 emergency in DR Congo — a status afforded to conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

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