October 25, 2010 / 2:11 PM / 10 years ago

Eight rebels dead in attack on UN base in Congo

U.N. peacekeepers patrol a road in Kibati, about 25 km (16 miles) north of the provincial capital of Goma, October 28, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Around 50 rebels carried out a rare attack on a U.N. peacekeepers’ base in eastern Congo at the weekend and eight assailants were killed when peacekeepers fired back, the U.N. mission said on Monday.

The night assault on the base in Rwindi, 135 km (80 miles) north of the regional capital Goma, is only the second such attack on a U.N. base and comes after three Indian peacekeepers were killed in a similar attack in August.

“About 50 men armed with AK47 rifles and locally made weapons ... deliberately opened fire on the peacekeepers and attempted to force their way into the base at several sites,” said an emailed statement from the U.N. mission MONUSCO.

“In reaction to this hostile attitude and in accordance with their rules of engagement, the blue helmets in turn opened fire on the attackers,” said the statement. Separately, a MONUSCO spokesman said there were no casualties on the U.N. side.

MONUSCO said first indications suggested the attackers were from a Mai Mai militia group and that the national FARDC army had captured some suspects. Peacekeepers recovered two AK47s, three machetes, a grenade and explosives, said the statement.

Despite withdrawing 1,494 peacekeepers this year, at 17,625 troops the U.N. mission is the world’s largest. U.N.-backed government operations against rebels meant to end in March have once again been extended as the conflict rumbles on.

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