UN Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo Warns Rebels of the M23 Movement to Desist From Sabotaging Its Helicopters
The UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo has issued a warning to rebels of the M23 movement to desist from sabotaging its helicopters making routine flights in the east of the country.
The warning made by MONUSCO on Friday comes after the UN claimed that two of its helicopters 20 kilometers north of Goma were fired upon by M23 rebels as they were on a routine flight.
The helicopters were flying around Kibumba and again from Kanyamahoro, two towns reported to be occupied by rebel fighters.
The UN said the helicopters were utility flights used routinely for medical evacuation of both its personnel and civilians not involved in hostilities.
According to MONUSCO, this was the second time in December that its helicopters were being targeted apparently by M23 elements occupying the area.
MONUSCO whose officials reiterated that they were in the service of peace warned that any further attacks on its helicopters and vehicles would be treated as an act of sabotage which would constitute a war crime which will be prosecuted.
The crisis in the DRC which began in April has worsened the humanitarian situation in the east of the country after rebels captured Goma and threatened to march on the capital Kinshasa.
The M23 rebels have since left the city as part of a peace deal brokered by the AU and UN-backed ICGLR peace initiative.
At least 75, 000 people are said to have been displaced by the conflict.
Source African Press Agency
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