The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General António Guterres:
The Secretary-General is deeply saddened to confirm that eight peacekeepers who were on board a Puma helicopter that crashed earlier today in North Kivu have died. Their bodies were recovered during a search-and-rescue operation launched by the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
The helicopter, operated by the Pakistani contingent, was on a reconnaissance mission in the area of Tshanzu, where there have been clashes between the 23 March Movement (M23) group and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) in recent days. An investigation is under way.
The Secretary-General expresses his sincere condolences to the bereaved families and to the Governments of Pakistan, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Serbia, whose troops were among the casualties.
The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the resurgence of M23 activities in the tri-border area around Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, as well as the ongoing impact of violence involving armed groups on civilians.
The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations commitment to support the Congolese Government and people in their efforts to bring peace and stability in the eastern provinces of the country.