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32 Indian peacekeepers injured, child killed in east Congo blast

"I am monitoring the situation personally. Our mission will ensure best possible treatment to the injured,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted

One child died and at least 32 Indian peacekeepers of the Army’s 16 Punjab battalion serving with the UN peacekeeping force in Democratic Republic of Congo were injured in an explosion on Tuesday. Two of the injured soldiers underwent surgery, Reuters has reported.

Provincial governor Julien Paluku told Reuters an eight-year-old girl and one peacekeeper had been killed in the blast. “MONUSCO explosives expert on the scene confirmed an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack against peacekeepers,” the UN said, adding that five peacekeepers were in serious condition in hospital.

An imam at a mosque in the vicinity, Ismael Salumu, told the news agency that three peacekeepers lost their lives in the blast. Salumu said, “We just heard the explosion and the cries. We then ran over to see.” According to Defence Ministry sources, the explosion took place when the soldiers were out for the morning physical training on the outskirts of Himbi, Goma.

“I am monitoring the situation personally. Our mission will ensure best possible treatment to the injured,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.

About 18,000 uniformed UN personnel operate in Congo, where millions of people died in regional conflicts during 1996-2003 and dozens of armed groups continue to operate.

The UN Mission has troops and police personnel drawn from more than 50 countries, including regional nations, and was deployed in 1999.

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