UN peacekeepers in DR Congo on alert after clashes

United Nations, Dec 31: UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are on alert amid ongoing clashes between government forces and unidentified armed men, a UN spokesperson said here Monday.

In the DRC, there have been clashes between government forces and unidentified armed elements in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Kindu, Xinhua reported citing Martin Nesirky, spokesperson for UN secretary-general, at the daily briefing.

The UN Mission in the country, known by its French acronym MONUSCO, has taken measures to ensure the safety and security of its staff and placed troops in these locations on alert, Nesirky said.

According to him, the Mission reported that calm has been restored in Lubumbashi, a major city in the southeast of DRC, and in Kindu in the east, where MONUSCO troops stationed at the airport engaged the armed elements.

“A national staff member of the UN Mission was injured during the exchange of fire at the airport but is in stable condition,” Nesirky said.

“The identity and motivation of the assailants remains unclear at this stage,” he added.

In March, the security council authorised the deployment of an intervention brigade within MONUSCO to carry out targeted offensive operations, with or without the Congolese national army, against armed groups that threaten peace in eastern DRC.