Indonesian peacekeeper killed in eastern DR Congo

BENI, DR Congo: An Indonesian soldier with the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in DR Congo was killed, and a second was injured, in a militia attack late Monday in the country’s troubled east, the UN said.

Their patrol was attacked around 20 kilometres from the city of Beni in North Kivu province, Sy Koumbo, a communications officer with the MONUSCO peacekeeping force, told AFP on Tuesday (Jun 23).

“A Blue Helmet died and another is wounded but not seriously. He is in a stable condition,” she said.

In a statement, MONUSCO chief Leila Zerrougui condemned the attack, which she said was carried out by “suspected members of the ADF” – the Allied Democratic Forces, a notorious armed group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The soldier had been helping to build a bridge in the Hululu area, she said.

A UN Security Council statement condemned “in the strongest terms all attacks and provocations against MONUSCO,” and pressed Congolese authorities “to swiftly investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The ADF is a mainly Muslim movement that originated in neighbouring Uganda in the 1990s, opposed to the rule of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

In 1995, it moved into the DRC, which became its base of operations, although it has not carried out attacks inside Uganda for years.

According to UN figures, it has killed more than 500 people since the end of October, when the Congolese army launched an offensive against it.

The ADF killed 15 UN troops at their base near the Ugandan border in December 2017, and seven in an ambush in December 2018.

Although its connection to the Islamic State group has never been proven, the IS’s central African region unit claimed responsibility for the latest attack in a statement seen by the specialised Site Intelligence Group.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in early September that the ADF was probably part of a network that extended from Libya through the Sahel region to Lake Chad, and was also present in Mozambique.

Even without formal ties, Guterres said IS links with the ADF clearly exist.