Congo Watch: UN troops strike back in DR Congo

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

UN troops strike back in DR Congo

Here is a copy of a report from the BBC 2 March, 2005 that says the UN is determined to find those who killed nine UN peacekeepers:

United Nations peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have killed more than 50 militiamen in a gun battle in the east, the UN says. The battle was part of a major offensive against the FNI militia, accused of killing nine Bangladeshi UN soldiers in Ituri province last week.

Earlier the Congolese government said three FNI commanders had been detained. The three include the militia's leader, Floribert Ndjabu. The FNI denies any involvement in the attack on UN forces.

Tuesday's clash took place 30 km (19 miles) north of Bunia, Ituri's provincial capital.

"While on operation we were fired upon, so we immediately responded," said Col Dominique Demange, a spokesman for UN forces in DR Congo.

There are some 12,000 peacekeepers in the country, following a 2002 deal to end five years of civil war. But bitter ethnic fighting continues in Ituri. Violence between rival militias resumed in the mineral-rich province in December, and aid workers say tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the fighting - many fleeing to neighbouring Uganda.

Bangladesh, which is one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping operations around the world, has 1,300 troops in DR Congo.

Last week's attack was the deadliest against the UN mission since it was set up in the country in 1999.


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