A member of the UN peacekeeping mission from Pakistani based in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was killed after an ambush by members of an armed group on Saturday, United Nations has said.
The attack happened in Lulimba village, 96 kilometers southwest of Baraka in South Kivu province, and the deceased peacekeeper has been identified as Naik Naeem Raza while another, Sepoy Bilal sustained injuries in the same attack.
The DRC army are hunting the group responsible for the killing.
Last December, at least 15 UN peacekeepers were killed and dozens wounded in eastern Congo in an attack described as the deadliest on the international forces in many years.
They were attacked by heavily armed rebel fighters in a remote part of North Kivu province and the Allied Democratic Front (ADF), a rebel group from Uganda operating in the Congo were blamed for the deaths.
More than 120 recent massacres in eastern Congo, where assailants methodically hacked people to death with axes and machetes or fatally shot them, are also blamed on ADF.
The Ugandan government considers the group a terrorist organisation.
DR Congo, almost the size of Western Europe, is the world’s largest source of cobalt. For two decades, it has struggled to defeat dozens of local and foreign militias in the east, which has deposits of tin, gold and coltan.
UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres in a statement condemned “the killing of a peacekeeper from Pakistan deployed with MONUSCO and extends condolences to the family of the deceased and to the people and government of Pakistan.”
Guterres called on armed groups to lay down arms.
The recent upsurge in violence as Congolese army battle the militias including Mai Mai and ADF has since Wednesday this week led to the fleeing of over 3,000 asylum seekers from Democratic Republic of the Congo to seek refuge in Burundi.
At least 1.3 million people, including more than 800,000 children, have also been displaced by ethnic violence and clashes between the army, militia and armed groups in the eastern Congo.
“Children in the eastern DRC continue to suffer devastating consequences as waves of violence destabilize the region,” said Dr. Tajudeen Oyewale, UNICEF Acting Representative in the DRC has said.
At least 400,000 children in the conflict-ridden Kasai region of the DRC could starve to death, UNICEF said last December.
Opposition groups in Congo blame President Joseph Kabila, arguing his refusal to step down as the constitution demands creates uncertainty and escalation of violence.
Protests over his refusal to leave power or organize elections have left many Congolese dead across the country.
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