A U.N. peacekeeper from Tanzania was killed and three others wounded on Wednesday in fighting against M23 rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Reuters reports.
The U.N. peacekeeping mission – known by its French initials, Monusco – is fighting alongside government forces in the central African nation. Al Jazeera reports that the latest fighting began just before 8 a.m. on Wednesday in hills about seven miles north of Goma, the provincial capital. The rebels confirmed they had been attacked by ground troops as well as from the air.
The new, 3,000-strong U.N. brigade was created in March in response to widespread criticism of inaction. Its mandate to disarm and neutralize rebel groups in the region is the strongest mandate that has ever been given to such a force by the U.N. Security Council, reports the BBC.
The M23 rebel group, which is made up mainly of deserters from the Congolese army, launched its rebellion in 2012. The BBC reports that about 800,000 people have fled their homes since the rebellion started and Al Jazeera adds that peace talks with the Congolese government have repeatedly stalled.
Monusco chief Martin Kobler said that protecting the largest city in the east of the country was ultimately the government’s responsibility. “The U.N. cannot guarantee the security of Goma,” he told Reuters. “It’s our partners (the Congolese army) who will do that.”