Seven UN peacekeepers injured in DR Congo attack

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MONUSCO peacekeepers on patrol. UN Photo/Myriam AsmaniSeven United Nations peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) sustained bullet wounds today during an incident at their base in the eastern part of the vast African nation.

A number of other peacekeepers were also injured after being hit with stones when a group of some 1,000 people surrounded their base in the Bunyiakiri area of South Kivu province, according to the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO).

?The people were reportedly protesting against attacks by the Forces D?mocratiques pour la Lib?ration du Rwanda (FDLR) in the area,? UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters at the world body?s Headquarters in New York.

?The Mission says elements of the Mayi-Mayi group, Rai Mutomboki, an armed self-defence group, may have been part of the protest and may have fired on the peacekeepers,? he added.

The seven peacekeepers who suffered bullet wounds have been taken to Goma in neighbouring North Kivu province for medical treatment, MONUSCO noted.

The Mission is monitoring the situation and has sent reinforcements to the area, which is now reportedly calm but tense.

Since 1999, the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC ? with some 19,000 uniformed personnel currently on the ground ? has overseen the vast country?s emergence from years of civil war and factional chaos, culminating most notably in 2006 with the first democratic elections in over four decades.

However, fighting has continued sporadically in the east, where the bulk of UN forces are deployed.

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