UN helicopter in DR of Congo fires at militias in self-defence

16 September 2003

A United Nations helicopter on aerial patrol in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) shot in self-defence at a truck carrying armed militias to Bunia, hitting two of them, the UN mission in the country said today.

The helicopter fired the shots after realizing that weapons were aimed at it, according to the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC).

Meanwhile yesterday, gunfire erupted in Bunia after the UN brigade in Ituri began conducting cordon and search operations to ensure that the town was free of weapons by 10 o'clock local time.

The peacekeepers went to the compound used by the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) and confiscated a stockpile of arms and ammunition. UPC supporters then held demonstrations against the UN-led operation, during which UPC militiamen opened fire on UN soldiers, drawing an immediate response from the troops.

In the past 24 hours, the UN Mission has arrested about 100 people, including some UPC top military officials. The situation in Bunia remains quiet but tense.


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