M23 rebel movement shot down UN helo by a surface-to-air missile
KINSHASA, ($1=2,011.00 Congolese Francs) — The UN Peacekeeping Mission in the DRC [MONUSCO] has announced the loss of a Puma helicopter that was shot down in the eastern part of the country by the M23 rebel movement, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Defence 24. Sources in the area say the rebels were used a portable surface-to-air missile system. There were eight soldiers in the helicopter, the so-called Blue Helmets. Six Pakistanis, a Russian and a Serb, were killed.
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The helicopter flew over the combat zone between the Congolese army and the M23 rebel movement [March 23 movement] to help and coordinate humanitarian aid. The helicopter crew monitored and evaluated the movements of the community, which was attacked the day before by a group of rebels. M23 attacked the following villages on Monday: Changzu, Runnoni, Ndiza, and Chengerero, the UN said in a statement.
A spokesman for UN President Antonio Guterres in New York confirmed the crash and declared the nationality of all eight victims.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed “deep feelings of shock and regret”, his office said, paying tribute to the country’s global peacekeeping efforts.
MONUSCO said it had lost contact with one of its helicopters on Tuesday, which was conducting reconnaissance in Changzhou, North Kivu province, where fighting has been going on since Monday. DRC authorities have accused Rwandan and Ugandan forces of supporting M23 fighters attacking Congolese military positions. Both sides deny the allegations.
The lost helicopter is Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma, it is a medium-sized twin-engine machine designed and manufactured by the French company Sud-Aviation. They are used by over a dozen countries around the world. 697 were produced by this helicopter. Its successor was the improved version of the AS 332 Super Puma, already produced by the Eurocopter Group consortium.
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