- A United Nations convoy was attacked by angry villagers in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), injuring two peacekeepers and setting fire to one car.
The villagers, who had been annoyed with the UN peacekeeping role in the region, on Wednesday attacked the convoy while on its way to Rutshuru, a town close to the DRC's borders with Uganda and Rwanda.
Despite the signing of a cease-fire by the government and rebels in January, peace in Africa's vast and resources-opulent country still remains fragile. Just last week, rebel fighters engaged the Congolese army on a fierce battle in the eastern region, the scene of several years of brutal rebel incursions.
The UN peacekeepers had been tasked, among others, to ensure that the January cease-fire is upheld and create a buffer zone between separate areas controlled by the army and rebels.
Meanwhile, search for the 17 passengers on board a plane carrying humanitarian supplies in the east of the DRC is still continuing. Operated by United States-based Air Serv, which provides air transport for the international humanitarian community, was en route from Kisangani to Bukavu when it crashed into a mountain as it it began to land in bad weather this week.
The passengers included five United Nations Development Programme and two Unite Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs staff members.
"However, given that aerial reconnaissance found that the plane suffered an extremely violent impact, the likelihood of survivors is low," UN spokesperson Michele Montas told journalist in New York.
Military contingents from the UN mission in Congo [MONUC], Congolese Civil Aviation authorities, Air Serv and South African special rescue teams have since been carrying out search missions in an extremely difficult terrain.
Ms Montas said the search operation could last several more days.
Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary general expressed deep sadness about the crash and extended condolences to the families of the victims."
He also expressed gratitude to all UN staff and international aid workers in the DRC "who continue to work tirelessly under difficult conditions to support the Congolese people in their efforts to consolidate peace in their country."
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