United Nations Peacekeeper Killed In Congo Fighting; Three Others Wounded

A U.N. peacekeeper from Tanzania was killed and three others were wounded on Wednesday in an operation with the Congolese army to drive back M23 rebels from the city of Goma in eastern Congo, a U.N spokesman said.
Democratic Republic of Congo's U.N. peacekeeping mission used helicopters, artillery and ground troops in support of government forces that launched the assault on rebel positions north of Goma, a city of 1 million people on the Rwandan border.

A 3,000-strong U.N. intervention brigade, with a tough new mandate to protect civilians and neutralize armed groups in the mineral-rich central African nation, sprang into action last week after the United Nations accused the rebels of shelling the city.

The M23 rebels, aware that their presence within striking distance of Goma is key to their leverage in stalled peace talks, have fiercely resisted Congolese army efforts to push them back.

Wednesday's fighting focused on the high ground around the village of Kibati, 11 km (7 miles) north of Goma.

"The M23 has been using these positions to shell populated areas. The objective of the operation is therefore to remove the threat against Goma," U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said.

Congo's U.N. peacekeeping mission, known as MONUSCO, later said that the dead peacekeeper was a Tanzanian.

A U.N. official in Goma said Indian peacekeepers and members of the intervention brigade - composed of Tanzanian, South African and Malawian troops - had taken part in the fighting.

South African military spokesman Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said two of the wounded soldiers were South African.

The nationality of the third person wounded in the attack was not yet known.

A Congolese officer at the frontline said government troops had by early evening seized strategic hills in Kibati and were fending off attempts to retake them.

United Nations 2916830107605694545

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