At least seven United Nations peacekeepers stationed in the Democratic Republic of Congo have reportedly been killed in clashes.
A report from the Reuters news agency Thursday afternoon cited clashes with militias near Beni, a town located in the eastern part of the conflicted country.
The news comes as the DRC struggles with its worst-ever breakout of Ebola.
“Our peacekeeping colleagues tell us that six peacekeepers from Malawi and one from Tanzania who are part of the UN peacekeeping operation in the DRC … were killed yesterday, in Beni territory,” the agency quoted U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric as telling reporters in New York.
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Earlier Thursday, Reuters also reported four Malawian peacekeepers had been killed by rebel attacks, also in the eastern part of the country.
It is not yet clear whether those four Malawian peacekeepers are included in the seven killed by militias near Beni.
The peacekeepers are all in the country as part of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
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Nine members of the Canadian Forces are also deployed to that mission under what is known as Operation Crocodile.
None are stationed in the Beni area and no Canadian members on the mission were among those killed, a spokesperson for the military has confirmed.
Canadian peacekeepers are stationed in the cities of Kinshasa and Goma.
Goma is in the eastern part of Congo but is roughly an 11-hour drive south of Beni.
Kinshasa is located in the western part of the country and would be about a 49-hour drive from Beni.
— With files from Reuters.