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2 UN peacekeepers killed, 18 hurt in eastern Congo attacks

Two United Nations peacekeepers from Tanzania were killed and 18 more wounded in a series of attacks in eastern Congo by suspected Ugandan rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attacks, which happened on Monday, and urged the Congolese authorities “to swiftly investigate these incidents and bring the perpetrators to justice,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

The UN chief noted that the attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law, the spokesperson added.

Dujarric said earlier that the injured have been evacuated to Goma. “The mission deployed attack helicopters as well as the force intervention brigade in support of operations as well as to reinforce presence,” he said, adding the mission forces are also deployed to restore order and protect the population.

The suspected rebels attacked early Monday near a UN base in Mamundioma, about 35 kilometers from Beni, UN Congo mission spokesperson Florence Marchal said earlier.

The rebels also seized weapons, said Jean-Paul Ngahangondi of a local civil rights group.

A Tanzanian brigade is stationed at the UN base there, where earlier in September; ADF rebels killed a Tanzanian peacekeeper.

Ten people were killed in fighting in the region last Saturday night, said local administrator Amisi Kalonda. At least 22 people are missing, said David Muhaze, the president of a civil society organisation. Officials could not confirm the total of missing and dead.

Dujarric said Guterres “once again calls on all armed groups in the country to lay down their weapons.

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