Secretary-General’s remarks on the attack on peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
December 8, 2017-I want to express my outrage and utter heartbreak at last night’s attack on United Nations peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Early indications from the site of the attack in North Kivu indicate that at least 12 Tanzanian peacekeepers were killed, and at least 40 injured, 4 of them critically. We also understand that at least five members of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo were killed.
I offer my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims, and to the Government and people of Tanzania. I wish a speedy recovery to all those injured.
I condemn this attack unequivocally. These deliberate attacks against UN peacekeepers are unacceptable and constitute a war crime. I call on the DRC authorities to investigate this incident and swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice. There must be no impunity for such assaults, here or anywhere else.
Military reinforcements have arrived on the scene. The Force Commander is there as well, coordinating the Mission’s response. The medical evacuation of casualties is ongoing.
This is the worst attack on UN peacekeepers in the Organization’s recent history. It is another indication of the enormous sacrifices made by troop contributing countries in the service of global peace. These brave women and men are putting their lives on the line every day across the world to serve peace and to protect civilians.
The situation in the DRC is one of the emergencies we are highlighting in today’s appeal for the Central Emergency Response Fund. This latest attack highlights the urgency of helping people in need and addressing the volatile situation.
NORTH KIVU – ATTACK ON MONUSCO TROOPS AT SEMULIKI, AT LEAST 14 PEACEKEEPERS AND 5 FARDC SOLDIERS KILLED
Kinshasa, 8 December 2017– In the evening of 7 December 2017, suspected ADF elements conducted an attack against a MONUSCO Company Operating Base at Force at Semuliki in Beni territory, North Kivu. This resulted in protracted fighting between suspected ADF elements and MONUSCO and FARDC Forces.
Initial reports indicate that fourteen MONUSCO peacekeepers and five FARDC soldiers were killed. An additional 53 MONUSCO peacekeepers were wounded in this incident.
“I wish to convey my sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of peacekeepers and FARDC soldiers who lost their lives, or were injured in the service of peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the last hours. I condemn in the strongest terms this deadly attack on United Nations peacekeepers and the FARDC. Attacks against those who are working in the service of peace and stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are cowardly and constitute serious violations. MONUSCO will take all actions to ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable and brought to justice”, declared Maman Sidikou, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in the DRC and Head of MONUSCO.
MONUSCO and the FARDC are coordinating a joint response. MONUSCO is also conducting medical evacuations and assessing the security situation in the area.
UN Security Council Reacted:
NEW YORK-8 December 2017-Security Council Press statement on the attack against the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo
The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the attack against the Company Operating Base of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) at Semuliki, North Kivu on 7 December 2017, which caused the death of 15 Tanzanian peacekeepers and injured at least 53 others, and in which five members of the Armed Forces of the DRC were also killed.
The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to the family of the victims, as well as to the Governments of Tanzania and the DRC, and to MONUSCO. They wished the injured peacekeepers a speedy recovery.
The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms all attacks and provocations against MONUSCO by armed groups. They underlined that deliberate attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law. There can be no impunity for such acts. They called upon the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to ensure that the perpetrators of such attacks are swiftly brought to justice. They reiterated their demands that all armed groups immediately cease all forms of violence.
The members of the Security Council paid tribute to the peacekeepers who risk their lives daily in the service of global peace and to protect civilians. This attack, the worst on UN peacekeepers in recent years, is a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices made by these brave women and men every day.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to MONUSCO to fully implement their mandate.
On 14th December the Under Secretary General for UN Peacekeeping operations joined Tanzanian Government in a farewell ceremony for the 14 Tanzanian peacekeepers who were killed in The Democratic Republic of Congo on the evening of 7th December, 2017. Below is a verbatim statement he gave at the event which was held at the Tanzania Peoples Defense Forces Head Quarters in Dar es Salaam.
Verbatim Statement of the Under Secretary General UN Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix during the farewell ceremony for the 14 fallen Tanzanian UN Peacekeepers at the Tanzania Peoples Defense Forces Head Quarters in Dar es Salaam on 14th December, 2017.
Your Excellency Prime Minister of Tanzania,
Retired President Kikwete,
Chief of Staff and Members of the Tanzanian Armed Forces, Excellencies Families of the fallen soldiers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
“We are here today to honor 14 fallen Peacekeepers from Tanzania who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of peace. The Greek Philosopher Thucydides once said, “The bravest are surely those that have the clearest vision of what is before them glory and danger alike and yet not notwithstanding go out to meet it.
These Peacekeepers and those that survived the heinous attack from their base in Semuliki, are the bravest of men.
Sergeant Hassan Abdalla Makame was a brave man, Corporal Issa Mussa Juma was a brave man. Private Iddi Abdallah Ali was a brave man, Private Juma Mossi Ally was a brave man, Private Nasoro Haji Bakari was a brave man and so was Private Fabian Samuel Chenga, Private Nassoro Daudi Iddi, Private Hamad Mzee Kamna, Private Shazil Nandonde Khatibu, Private Salehe Said Mahembaro, Private Jonas Msengi Private Mwichumu Vuai Mohammed, Private Deogratias Kamili Rashid and Private Ali Haji Ussi,
Dear members of their family, we know that no word can express your sorrow but we also know that you can be very very proud of them. Perhaps better than any of us, they knew the dangers they would face in this troubled region of the Democratic Republic of Congo-A country that is so important for the Security of the region-they knew that these armed groups that are preying on the population have no qualms about attacking United Nations Peacekeepers and yet they placed their lives on the lines to serve the people of this region and of the DRC. They believed that facing those dangers was necessary to restore peace for the sake of people of the DRC-Democratic Republic of Congo they accepted the challenge of facing down the armed group to put an end to their heinous dominion.
From their base in the heart of the so called ADF triangle, they disrupted the groups criminal activities. In order to protect civilians and to promote peace they were still willing to place themselves in harms way.
On 7th of December, when the group attacked, they fought back courageously and for long hours they defended themselves and their base. Today, we honor the bravery of these fourteen young men who deserve our eternal gratitude as we salute their bravery, our hearts and prayers go out to their families and loved ones. And we wish a speedy recovery and full recovery to the injured.
To truly honor these brave men, we must ensure that the sacrifice was not made in vain. The example that they have set compels us to renew our commitment to implement the mandate that has been given to the UN-to us by the Security Council.
As we mourn this terrible loss, we must work together to ensure that our peacekeepers have the means to achieve our common goal of bringing peace back to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
We must continue the fight against the criminal armed groups, for the people of the Congo and the entire region. I am hurt and despite this great tragedy, The United Nations can count on the unwavering support of Tanzania and the other nations who have chosen to place the lives of their soldiers on the line for this noblest course,
Mr. Prime Minister, Excellencies, we are proud of the service of the brave Tanzanian Peacekeepers. we will never forget the fallen heroes your brave soldiers our comrades, Thank you very much.’