Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned the killing of two United Nations peacekeepers and the wounding of thirteen others in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) following an ambush in the North Kivu region, a spokesperson for the Organization has confirmed.
The deadly attack occurred yesterday in Beni territory when a UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) convoy came under fire from suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). Along with the documented 15 casualties, another four 'blue helmets' – all from the United Republic of Tanzania – are reported missing.
In a statement released yesterday evening, the UN spokesperson said the Secretary-General also condemned in the strongest terms “the continuing atrocities perpetrated by the ADF against defenseless civilians in the Beni area.”
“The UN remains committed to taking all necessary actions in line with Security Council resolution 2211 (2015) to protect civilians and neutralize armed groups in eastern DRC,” the statement continued. “The Secretary-General offers his sincere condolences and sympathy to the bereaved families and the Government of Tanzania.”
Yesterday's deadly ambush follows another targeted attack against the UN presence in the area when, on the morning of 4 May, MONUSCO helicopters were fired upon by a group of unidentified armed men.
Also condemning the 5 May attack via Twitter, Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), said he would “no longer tolerate any more of these repeated attacks in Beni territory” and that MONUSCO would lead “robust offensive operations” against the perpetrators.
In addition, Mr. Kobler paid tribute to the Tanzanian peacekeepers killed in the ambush saying he was “deeply saddened” by their deaths.
Later in the afternoon, the Security Council released a statement condemning the attack and expressed their deepest condolences to the families of the peacekeepers killed.
Wishing a speedy recovery to all those injured, Council members called on the Government of the DRC to swiftly investigate this attack and bring its perpetrators to justice. Those responsible for the attack must be held accountable, the Council stressed.
The 15-member body also underlined that attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law and reiterated their full support to Mr. Kobler and MONUSCO to implement their mandate.
“The members of the Security Council reiterated their deep concern regarding the security crisis in eastern DRC due to ongoing destabilizing activities of foreign and domestic armed groups,” the statement read.