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DR of Congo: UN mission chief condemns weekend attack on helicopter

19 January The senior United Nations official in charge of peacekeeping in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today deplored a weekend attack on a UN helicopter as "very serious and unacceptable."

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) William Lacy Swing, heading the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC), said the 16 January attack near Kasenyi village, 50 kilometres south of Bunia, caused no injuries or damage. The helicopter was able to land in Kasenyi, despite having been the target of five volleys.

The helicopter was flying to Kasenyi following an attack on a camp of the Parti pour l'Unité et la Sauvegarde de l'Intégrité du Congo (PUSIC) by the Front des Nationalistes Intégrationnistes (FNI) in Tagbaa, south of Kasenyi. The FNI might have fired on the MONUC helicopter, the mission said.

Mr. Swing summoned the FNI leader, Floribert Ndjabu Ngabu, to Kinshasa to repeat his condemnation, adding that it was "an attack against the international community, the population and the peace process."

The FNI chief then broadcast his own condemnation of the incident over MONUC's Radio Okapi and promised to do his best to prevent another such attack. He said he was ready to cooperate with MONUC to restore peace in the area under his control.

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