KATHMANDU, June 18: At least two Nepal Army (NA) personnel were injured in an exchange of fire with a Congolese rebel group called Mai-Mai on Sunday.
The injured NA personnel belonging to the Shamser Dal Battalion are part of the 23rd contingent of Nepali peace keepers deployed in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO), according to a press statement issued by the NA's Directorate of Public Relations.
The injured NA peacekeepers are currently undergoing treatment at UN's Level 3 Hospital in Goma. "The condition of both the injured is normal," said the statement.
The incident took place some 22 kilometers away from the battalion's headquarters in Benim, when the rebel group opened fire at Nepali peacekeepers on patrol.
The NA peacekeepers had retaliated immediately, killing five rebels on the spot. The peacekeepers recovered two AK-47 rifles and their 50 rounds of ammunitions. The recovered arms and ammunitions were subsequently handed over to the Congolese national army.
According to the statement, NA peacekeepers have already brought the situation in the area under their control. The incident comes in the wake of the UN Security Council renewing the mandate of MONUSCO for a year in April, but with reduced size of the military component.
The resolution reduced the size of the military component from 19,815 to 16,215 troops. Over 1,000 NA peacekeepers are currently deployed under MONUSCO.
Besides proposing to replace some troops with better-trained specialized units, the resolution gives the peacekeepers a green light to intervene anywhere in the country if needed and not just in the volatile east. Among other things, it calls for a dialogue between the UN and the Congolese government on an "exit strategy".