MONUSCO condemns attack on its base at Rwindi (North Kivu)

This attack had to be robustly repulsed

Kinshasa, 25 October 2010 - The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Roger Meece, condemns in the strongest terms the attack perpetrated on Saturday, October 23rd by armed men on the base of MONUSCO peacekeepers at Rwindi (135 km north of Goma), in North Kivu.

At about 22:30 hours, on Saturday 23 October, about fifthy (50) men armed with AK47 rifles and locally fabricated weapons formed up in front of the MONUSCO base clearly showing their intention to attack the base. Despite repeated warnings from the Blue Helmets, the armed men continued moving towards the base, deliberately opened fire on the peacekeepers and tried to make a forced entry into the base from various directions.

In response to this hostile attack, and in accordance with their rules of engagement, the Blue Helmets repulsed the attack. The firefight lasted for about 15-20 minutes, and the peacekeepers’ reaction forced the attackers to flee. An immediate search resulted in the recovery, around the base, of seven (7) dead and one (1) injured who later succumbed to his injuries. A further search along with the guards of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) based in this area, resulted in the recovery of two (2) more injured. These injured were evacuated to the MONUSCO base and then to the hospital in Rutshuru. The provisional toll from this attack stands at eight (8) dead and two (2) injured on the side of the attackers whose identity has not yet been established. Two AK47 machine guns, 3 machetes, 3 magazines, 725 rounds, a grenade and explosives were also recovered.

The Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) subsequently captured some other individuals, who are in detention. A detailed investigation into this incident, including the identification of the perpetrators and their motives, is now underway, in coordination with the Congolese authorities. Early indications suggest that the attackers may be members of a Mai Mai group. MONUSCO welcomes the announcement made on Sunday from Rwindi by the Military Justice Authority of North Kivu stating its intention to immediately initiate judicial action against the perpetrators of this attack.

The United Nations Stabilization Mission remains determined to continue its efforts in support of the Congolese Government to consolidate peace in the DRC.