Three Indian peacekeepers were killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after their camp at Kirumba was attacked by what the Indian Army considers to be probably members of a Mayi Mayi armed group at 0150 hours local time on Wednesday. Seven other soldiers, also belonging to the 19 Kumaon Regiment, deployed under the MONUSCO (United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) mandate, were injured.
According to an statement issued by the Indian Army in New Delhi, ‘the Unit’s Company Operating Base at Kirumba was approached by five innocent-looking civilians. They asked the post for assistance. While, they were engaging the guard on duty with conversation, a group of approximately 50-60 rebels – probably Mayi Mayi rebel group – attacked the periphery of the post, from the surrounding jungle. This lasted for approximately five minutes. The rebels merged into the forest, taking advantage of darkness.’
Agence France-Presse reported the three Kumaonis to have been hacked to death with knives and machetes.
Before Wednesday, the Indian Army had, so far, suffered one fatal battle casualty in the Congo in the past year . Indian Army and Indian Air Force peacekeepers have been deployed under the earlier MONUC (Mission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies en République démocratique du Congo Mission of the United Nations Organisation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and then the MONUSCO mandate since 2005.
Mayi Mayi is an umbrella term for militias in the DRC that are also considered especially active in the South and North Kivu districts on the border with Rwanda. These militias have a history of clashing with government troops, rebels as well as UN peacekeeping forces.