UN peacekeeper killed in Congo after chopper comes under fire

A UN peacekeeper from South Africa was killed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday when a helicopter operated by the peacekeeping force came under fire while in mid-air, the UN mission in Congo and South Africa's military said.

The helicopter came under fire after taking off from the city of Beni in the early afternoon.

Another South African peacekeeper was also wounded in the attack but was able to continue flying and land at the airport of the provincial capital Goma, the South African National Defence Force said in a statement.

Neither South Africa nor the UN mission called MONUSCO said who might be responsible. They also did not say what weapon was fired at the helicopter or what caused the casualties.

The UN peacekeeping mission of around 18,200 personnel has been deployed in eastern Congo since taking over from a previous UN operation in 2010. Its mandate includes supporting the Congolese government's effort to stabilize a region racked by rebel violence.

Eight peacekeepers were killed last year when their helicopter crashed in a part of North Kivu province, where the Congolese army was fighting a rebel group known as the M23.

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