Kinshasa [DRC], March 30 (ANI/Sputnik): The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) said on Tuesday that it had lost contact with one of its helicopters in the east of the country.
“MONUSCO lost contact with one of its helicopters on a reconnaissance mission in the Tshanzu area this afternoon,” the mission said on Twitter, adding that the reasons for the disappearance are not yet known and a search is underway.
Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said in a statement that eight people were on board the helicopter, including six crew members from the Pakistani military, one Russian and one Serbian soldier. The spokesman noted that a search and rescue operation is underway.
Dujarric also said that “there have been clashes there between the M23 armed group and Congolese forces in recent days” in the Tshanzu area.
Later on Tuesday, the local Politico, citing Gen. Sylvan Ekenge of the armed forces of the DRC (FARDC), reported that the helicopter was shot down by M23 rebels.
MONUSCO is a UN peacekeeping operation which lists protection of civilians, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders under imminent threat of physical violence, and support of the government of the DRC in its efforts to stabilize the country, among its goals. The DRC government is facing opposition from rebel groups in the eastern part of the country. (ANI/Sputnik)
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Source: The Print