The United Nations suffered its worst attack on a peacekeeping mission in nearly a quarter of a century when suspected Ugandan rebels attacked a base in the restive east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing at least 15 peacekeepers.
The UN Security Council said Friday the peacekeepers, who were all from neighbouring Tanzania, were killed in the North Kivu province late Thursday, alongside five Congolese soldiers, with 53 personnel wounded.
UN chief Antonio Guterres led an outpouring of outrage over the deadly ambush, calling it a “heinous” act.
“I condemn this attack unequivocally. These deliberate attacks against UN peacekeepers are unacceptable and constitute a war crime,” he said in a statement.
Heather Nauert, spokeswoman for the State Department, said Washington was “appalled by the horrific act”.
Tanzania’s President John Magufuli said he was “shocked” and “saddened” by the deaths of “brave soldiers and heroes who lost their lives accomplishing their peace mission in our neighbour the DRC”.
The attack is the worst loss of life to a UN peacekeeping force since 1993 when 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in Somalia during clashes with a local warlord.
DR Congo’s huge eastern region has long been wracked by violence, but fighting between government soldiers and militia groups, as well as inter-ethnic clashes, has increased significantly this year.