DR Congo

DR Congo: Alan Doss meets the Russian crew of a MONUC helicopter attacked in Dongo

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Kinshasa, 12 December 2009 - In a brief ceremony at MONUC's headquarters in Kinshasa today, Special Representative Alan Doss met the crew of the MONUC civilian helicopter that was attacked with gunfire on 25 November last in Dongo, in Equateur province. Mr. Doss praised the courage of the flight attendants, all of Russian nationality, who facilitated the evacuation of 25 people, including 5 injured people (including the helicopter pilot), who were brought to Brazzaville for emergency medical treatment.

The incident occurred when the helicopter that was restocking the 20 blue helmets stationed there fell under gunfire from armed men. MONUC had rushed Blue Helmets to Dongo in an effort to protect the local population.

During the ceremony, which took place in the presence of the ambassador of the Russian Federation, Mr. Anatoly Klimenko, Mr. Doss greeted the professionalism and courage of the Russian crew, which allowed them to complete their mission, under enormous pressure and in particularly difficult conditions.

Over the past two months, an intra-community conflict and the emergence of an illegal armed group has caused hundreds of deaths and displaced thousands of people.

According to the humanitarian agencies, there have been several hundred deaths and those internally displaced are estimated at more than 38,000 people, according to the UNHCR. According to the same source, Congo Brazzaville is already sheltering more than 79,000 refugees from the conflict.

The Congolese government is currently re-establishing state authority in the zone. In conformity with its mandate, MONUC is reinforcing its presence in the region to better protect civilians, to facilitate humanitarian aid and to assist the efforts of the Congolese Government.