A Kenyan UN military observer was shot dead on Thursday in the troubled eastern district of Ituri in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a spokesman for the UN Mission there, Leacadio Salmeron, said.
"No one else was hurt," he said.
The soldier, whose rank and name were not disclosed, was killed in daylight when his convoy was ambushed near Katoto, 22 km northeast of Bunia, the main town in Ituri. He was one of 37 Kenyan military observers with the UN mission.
Salmeron said the assailants were thought to be from a segment of the Hema militia, the Union of Congolese Patriots (Union des patriots congolais) of Bosco Lubanga, in alliance with the Lendu militia, the Front des nationalists integrationistes.
The observers were a mix of soldiers and civilians returning to their Bunia headquarters, after investigating reports that armed members of Lubanga's militia had been robbing civilians in Katoto.
The death of the observer brings to three the number of UN observers killed in the country as a result of hostile action since their deployment in November 1999. Militia killed a Malawian and a Jordanian in 2003.
Ethnic militia have subjected UN troops to repeated attacks since the end of November 2003. Some 4,500 UN troops have been deployed in Ituri since September 2003 to protect the district's population.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
Hundreds of thousands of readers trust The New Humanitarian each month for quality journalism that contributes to more effective, accountable, and inclusive ways to improve the lives of people affected by crises.
Our award-winning stories inform policymakers and humanitarians, demand accountability and transparency from those meant to help people in need, and provide a platform for conversation and discussion with and among affected and marginalised people.
We’re able to continue doing this thanks to the support of our donors and readers like you who believe in the power of independent journalism. These contributions help keep our journalism free and accessible to all.
Show your support as we build the future of news media by becoming a member of The New Humanitarian.