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UN peacekeeping mission in DR Congo warns M23 armed group over helicopter attacks Watch

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    (Original post by UN News Centre)
    28 December 2012 – The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) today warned the 23 March Movement (M23) armed group that anyone attacking UN helicopters “will be prosecuted” as a war criminal.

    The warning from the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) comes after two of the mission’s utility helicopters faced hostile fire on 26 December from “two localities under M23 control,” according to a MONUSCO press release.

    MONUSCO said the helicopters were unarmed and are “routinely used for medical evacuation for both UN personnel and civilians.”

    They were fired upon while undertaking a “routine flying certification” 20 kilometres north of Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu province in eastern DRC that the M23 occupied last month for 11 days.

    MONUSCO added that this was the second time that UN helicopters had been “deliberately targeted by M23 elements” during December.

    The M23 is made up of former DRC army troops who mutinied in April, and named after a 23 March 2009 peace agreement that they reportedly say has not been implemented. For its part, MONUSCO is deployed in DRC to protect civilians, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders, among other tasks set by the UN Security Council.

    “MONUSCO reminds that peacekeepers are in the exclusive service of peace, and that any attack against them constitutes a war crime,” the mission said. “Those responsible for such acts will be prosecuted and brought to justice.”

    The M23 has this month participated in peace talks with the DRC Government in the Ugandan capital of Kampala. Its troops withdrew from Goma at the end of November under the supervision of some of the 1,500 MONUSCO peacekeepers deployed in the city of one million. This was in accordance with requirements laid out in a communiqué issued by the regional intergovernmental group known as the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

    MONUSCO said it has reported the recent attacks to ICGLR’s Joint Verification Mechanism in Goma, which monitors the border between DRC and Rwanda.

    It added that the 26 December attacks took place at approximately 8 p.m., with initial fire originating from Kibumba, a town about 25 kilometres north of Goma, and a second round of fire coming from Kanyamahoro, another locality in the region.
    http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.as...o#.UOGfMG_CmGc
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    Any attack against UN Peacekeepers is a tragedy, and South Africa fully condemns the actions of M23 in this particular incident.
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    Belarus does not accept hostilities to UN peacekeeping forces.
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    Egypt strongly condemns any attack against UN forces, and will offer the UN its full support in any peacekeeping missions in Africa.
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    the UK and NZ both thoroughly condemn this attack on peace keeping forces.
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    Malaysia condemns any plans of such by the DRC, and hopes invasion of UN forces are not disrupted by such futile acts.
 
 
 
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