15 August 2009 The United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is providing medical assistance to the victims of a deadly attack by armed militiamen in a mine-rich area in the strife-torn east of the country.
Media reports say at least 16 people were killed during Wednesday's attack, which took place in the remote village of Mpama in North Kivu province, close to the mines at Biseye. Mining is a lucrative source of income in the impoverished region, which continues to be beset by outbreaks of fighting involving militia groups and the army.
Troops from the Congolese army (FARDC) stationed nearby were dispatched to find the militiamen, but they had already fled, according to a press statement issued today by the UN peacekeeping mission, known as MONUC.
Alan Doss, the head of MONUC and the Secretary-General's Special Representative to the DRC, denounced the attack.
“Nothing can justify these crimes committed by the armed groups that strike at civilians,” Mr. Doss said.
MONUC established a medical assistance team in the nearby town of Ishenga to treat the injured, with some others evacuated to other centres. The blue helmets have also stepped up their patrols in the Walikale-Biseye area.
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