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One UN peacekeeping soldier killed in DR Congo

07-07-2012 02:19 BJT

Reports from the Democratic Republic of Congo indicate that one UN peacekeeping soldier has been killed by the M23 rebels in a fierce battle in the border town of Bunagana. The rebels reportedly captured Bunagana town which lies on the border of Congo and Uganda. The UN peacekeeping mission has posted troops to the border town to boost the Congolese national army fight off the rebels.

For the past three months the M23 rebels have been holed up in three hills just a few kilometers near Bunagana town in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a town which lies on the border of Congo and Uganda.

Now reports from Congo indicate that the rebels finally captured the town early Friday morning following a fierce battle with the national army. Bunagana residents say that many soldiers fled into Uganda where they were disarmed by Uganda's security forces. Reports also indicate that one UN peacekeeping soldier was killed in the conflict a move that could now change the dynamics of the conflict.

Leila Zerungi, Head of Congo UN Mission, said, "Our soldiers are under strict instructions that they should not just sit and watch."

Bunagana is a strategic town for both Congo and Uganda, serving as one of only three entry points into North Kivu through which supplies from the region enter the country from Uganda. It also generates a lot of revenue for both countries a reason that has made it one of the key targets of the M23 rebels. It is also for that reason that Monusco sent a large number of troops to Bunagana to help the national army fight off the rebels.

Two weeks ago the M23 rebels announced they were planning to capture a major town in North Kivu province to force the government into negotiations following President Kabila's refusal to negotiate with them. Some 200,000 people have fled their homes after the recent fighting with about 20,000 crossing the border into Uganda and Rwanda.

A recent UN report has accused Rwanda of backing the rebels but Rwanda has vehemently denied those claims. The current mutiny is being led by fighters from General Bosco Ntaganda's former rebel group the CNDP which was integrated into the Congolese national army in 2009 as part of a peace deal.

Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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