UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council has strongly condemned the killing of an Indian soldier in the attack by rebel groups on UN peacekeepers in Congo and asked the government in Congo to bring the perpetrators to justice.
In a press statement, the 15-nation Council expressed its sympathy to the family of the victim and UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) staff, as well as to the government of India.
Earlier, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had expressed deep regret over the death of the Indian soldier and offered his condolences to the family of the UN peacekeeper as well as to the Government and people of India.
“The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms” the attacks by the M23 rebel group on MONUSCO peacekeepers in North Kivu on July 5, as part of an ongoing offensive in the area, which resulted in the death of an Indian soldier in Bunagana as well as the displacement of thousands of civilians and deaths of Congo forces, the press statement said.
The UNSC members called upon the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to ensure that the perpetrators of such attack are swiftly brought to justice.
The Security Council reiterated its demands that the M23 and all armed groups immediately cease all forms of violence.
The UNSC members also reiterated their full support for MONUSCO and its operations in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Ban expressed concern over the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Serving with MONUSCO, the Indian ‘blue helmet’ had been in Bunagana, in the province of North Kivu, this week, when he was caught in a cross-fire in clashes between Congo’s armed forces and a rebel group known as the M23. Congo’s eastern provinces of North and South Kivu have witnessed increased fighting between government troops and the M23, which is composed of renegade soldiers who mutinied in April and are led by Bosco Ntaganda.
The fighting has displaced more than 100,000 people, including many who have fled to neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.
“The Secretary-General expresses his serious concern about the situation in eastern Congo, and calls for an immediate end to all violence perpetrated by armed groups,” Ban’s spokesperson said.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has previously described the M23 group as being led by a “particularly notorious group of human rights violators.”
“Many of them have appalling track records including allegations of involvement in mass rape, and of responsibility for massacres and for the recruitment and use of children,” Pillay had said in June.
In late June, the Security Council extended MONUSCO for another year, focusing on its priority mandate of protecting civilians.
It also urged national authorities to reform their security sector and end armed insurgencies and human rights abuses in the country.
MONUSCO supports the Congo authorities in their stabilization and peace consolidation efforts, including assisting with the holding of elections, the monitoring of human rights violations and support for Government action against armed groups operating in the country’s east.-PTI