DR Congo

One U.N. peacekeeper dead, 2 injured in Congo gunfight

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KINSHASA, June 13 (Reuters) - Unidentified gunmen killed an Indian U.N. peacekeeper and wounded two others during a gun battle in eastern Congo's North Kivu province on Monday, the U.N. mission said.
"Three Indian peacekeepers were wounded during a shooting incident at about 18:30 (1630 GMT) this evening -- one of the soldiers has since died of his injuries," Kemal Saiki, chief spokesman for the U.N. mission, said.

Saiki said that the Congolese army opened fire on a truck of gunmen, some 30 km (19 miles) north of the North Kivu border town of Goma. The gunmen then returned fire and hit the Indians, who were evacuated to a hospital where one later died, he said.

It was not exactly clear if the Congolese soldiers had also been hit or what the Indian soldiers were doing in the area. But Saiki said that the gun battle did not appear to be an attack on the U.N. peacekeepers.

The U.N mission has more than 16,000 peacekeepers in the Congo, where peace deals in 2003 officially ended a five-year war that killed nearly four million people, mostly from hunger and disease, but armed groups continue to operate across much of the east.

Long accused of failing to fulfil its mandate to protect civilians, the U.N. mission has stepped up operations against militias and over a dozen peacekeepers have died in battles with gunmen across eastern Congo during the last three months.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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