Belgium condemns deadly attack on UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Belgium condemns the deadly attack on MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on 22 June. A confrontation between an armed group and UN blue helmets in Beni, left at least one person dead and several wounded.

Belgium expresses its sincere condolences to the family of the Indonesian blue helmet who lost his life, as well as to the Indonesian authorities and the United Nations, and wishes the wounded a speedy recovery.

Belgium calls on the Congolese authorities to investigate the incident as quickly as possible and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

This serious incident highlights once again the very worrying security situation in the east of the DRC, particularly in the provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri. In recent months, 1 300 civilians, including children, have lost their lives in conflicts between armed groups and the national armed forces. The security problems are accompanied by the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing their homes and are contributing to a serious humanitarian crisis, which could be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last December in the UN Security Council, Belgium voted in favor of a new mandate for the UN peacekeeping mission on the ground. In that framework, Belgium invariably asked that the mission be given a clear mandate to protect the civilian population. The incidents of recent months prove that this must remain a priority.

In the months ahead, the United Nations and the Congolese authorities should jointly examine how the peacekeeping operation should adapt to the situation on the ground. The situation will be discussed again in the UN Security Council on 25 June. Belgium will advocate close cooperation between the UN and the Congolese authorities in order to speed up progress on necessary reforms to promote sustained peace and security for the Congolese population. A purely military approach to the security issues can never be the only answer. The root causes of conflict must be addressed. This also requires enhanced cross-border cooperation in the Great Lakes region.