Gunmen kill Pakistani UN peacekeeper in eastern Congo

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani soldier serving as a United Nations peacekeeper in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been killed in an armed attack in the country’s volatile east, the military said.

Six militants arrived at the UN’s permanent base of operations in the Minebwe district as part of a UN initiative, ostensibly to surrender their weapons. But the Pakistani military said in a statement late Saturday that the group’s leaders began firing indiscriminately.

A Pakistani soldier serving as a guard at the weapons surrender site was shot in the head, the statement said. Pakistani peacekeepers responded immediately to the fire, it said, without giving details.

The seriously wounded soldier, identified as Babar, 35, was rushed to the nearest Pakistan Army medical team, but later died.

The United Nations has identified the gunman in Friday’s attack as a suspected Twirwaneho fighter. The Pakistani military said it had links to Banyamulenge, a Tutsi community in the eastern province of South Kivu.

Pakistan is part of a United Nations peacekeeping force of more than 16,000 soldiers and police called the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). It started in July 2010 to protect civilians, deter armed groups and help build state institutions and services.

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