/ 27 November 2009

Armed group claims firing at UN chopper in DRC

An armed movement calling itself the Patriots-Resistance of Dongo on Friday claimed responsibility for firing at a United Nations helicopter in the Equateur province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

”The patriots-resistance have again inflicted a resounding failure on the occupation forces and have retaken the town of Dongo. A Monuc [UN mission in DRC] helicopter engaged in the fighting was hit by our fire,” said a statement signed by Ambroise Lobala Mokobe, spokesperson for the movement.

The movement in the northwestern region also swore to overthrow the ”puppet regime” in Kinshasa and claimed that it included members of the FAZ (former Zairean army) and deserters from the Congolese armed forces (FARDC).

On Thurday, a Monuc helicopter that flew to Dongo to resupply about 20 UN troops on the spot was fired at on the ground. Five of the 30 people on board were injured and the pilot had to take off fast to land instead in the neighbouring Republic of Congo.

In their confused statement, the Patriots-Resistance alleged that Rwandan occupation forces were in the region and they denounced the ”complicity” of Monuc ”with the Mafia-like imperialists.”

”We take the engagement before God and before all the Congolese to topple the puppet regime currently in place in Kinshasa,” the statement added.

Dongo was attacked on October 29 and 30 by a group from the Lobala community (also known as the Enyele), which targetted the Bamboma (or Boba) community. Both sides have frequently disputed the fishing resources of the region.

The violence, which has since spread to other villages, left at least 100 dead, mainly in Dongo, who were either hacked with machetes or shot, while a number drowned trying to cross the Oubangi river, which marks the border with the Congo Republic.

At least 53 000 people have fled the violence. About 37 000 are in the north of the Congo Republic, while 16 000 others have remained in the DRC. — AFP