UN peacekeepers involved in armed clashes with militias in DR of Congo

On Saturday morning, a UN patrol discovered 11 armed men in a house near the home of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) leader, Thomas Lubanga. Since these men were in violation of the weapons ban in Bunia the UN detained them overnight. Before being released, their weapons were seized and destroyed. Later that day, after shots were fired at a UN base, peacekeepers detained another group of UPC militia members including the group’s intelligence chief, Saba Rafiki. He remains in detention with the UN in Bunia.On Saturday afternoon, militia members from the PUSIC, a UPC splinter group, opened fire on a UN patrol in the village of Shari, just southwest of Bunia. The peacekeepers returned fire, wounding two of the assailants and arresting nine. One of the wounded, Col. Claude Aboli, later died of his wounds.Hundreds of people were killed earlier this year in the Bunia region in ethnic clashes between Lendu and Hema clans. The fighting led to the deployment of a UN-authorized, French-led Interim Emergency Multinational Force (IEMF), followed by an expansion of the UN Organization Mission in the DRC (MONUC) to stabilize the area. read more

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