KINSHASA (Reuters) - Authorities in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo detained six U.N. peacekeepers from Ukraine in the eastern city of Goma on Wednesday because they had Congolese military uniforms in their luggage, a spokesman for the U.N. mission (MONUSCO) said.
Officials fear the incident could stoke mistrust of the peacekeepers, who have already faced violent protests by locals who say they and the Congolese army are not doing enough to stop attacks by unidentified rebels around the northeastern town of Beni in which around 200 have been killed since October.
MONUSCO commander General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz was meeting Congolese army generals in the eastern city of Goma about the Ukrainians, members of a MONUSCO flight crew.
“The guys have been caught. It’s not only the FARDC (Congolese army) uniforms but, I’m told, uniforms that belong to the Republican (presidential) Guard,” said MONUSCO spokesman Kibayasi Seif Ibrahim in Goma.
MONUSCO has 21,000 troops in Congo aiming to quell years of fighting involving rebel groups. The 18 or so Ukrainian members mainly provide air support. Local officials in Goma in eastern Congo could not be immediately reached for comment.