12 October 2013 The United Nations Special Envoy for Africa's Great Lakes region has condemned the armed rebel attack on a UN helicopter in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) calling the act “unacceptable.”
“I learned with deep concern that a MONUSCO [United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC]] helicopter came under direct fire from positions held by the M23 rebel movement in the Rumangabo region,” Mary Robinson said in a statement.
“I strongly condemn this serious incident that threatens the security of MONUSCO personnel.”
In the past year, clashes have continued sporadically throughout the DRC's eastern region, with rebels briefly occupying the main city, Goma, in November 2012. The fighting has displaced more than 100,000 people, exacerbating an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region which includes 2.6 million internally displaced persons and 6.4 million in need of food and emergency aid.
“I wish to remind the M23 leadership that any act aimed at obstructing MONUSCO in the exercise of its mandate, as stipulated by the United Nations Security Council resolution 2098, is unacceptable,” Ms. Robinson said.
MONUSCO is tasked with the protection of civilians in the DRC. In March, the Security Council authorized the deployment of an intervention brigade within the Mission to carry out targeted offensive operations, with or without the Congolese national army, against armed groups that threaten peace in eastern DRC.
Yesterday, the head of MONUSCO, Martin Kobler, condemned the attack and reiterated the Mission's determination to continue its operations.
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