UN peacekeeper killed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo by rebels

The latest violence to strike the conflict-torn region occurred in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to UN and Congolese officials on Saturday.

The attack was allegedly carried out on Friday night in the Minembwe region of South Kivu province by suspected Twirwaneho militia members, according to the UN peacekeeping operation in the DRC known as MONUSCO.

“A peacekeeper was killed by armed men who approached the base after having contacted MONUSCO for a surrender,” MONUSCO said. 

“Attacks against peacekeepers may constitute a war crime,” it added, calling on Congolese authorities to hold the perpetrators responsible.

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Over 120 armed groups, including the Twirwaneho militia, are present in the unstable eastern DRC. It asserts to speak for the Banyamulenge Tutsi group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Twirwaneho militiamen killed the UN peacekeeper under the “ruse” of handing themselves in, according to Lieutenant Jeremie Meya, a Congolese army spokesman in the Minembwe region.

MONUSCO, however, was unable to instantly confirm the nationality of the deceased peacekeeper.

Following deadly anti-UN protests that shook eastern DRC in July, the attack occurred. According to a Congolese death toll, 32 protesters and four UN soldiers perished during the week-long turmoil, and UN bases were looted.

The alleged inefficiency of MONUSCO in the face of ongoing bloodshed has angered many Congolese.

(With inputs from agencies)