(Bloomberg) -- A United Nations peacekeeper died and another was seriously wounded after their helicopter was shot at in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, a day after East African Community leaders met to steady a flailing peace process.
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The helicopter was flying from Beni to the trading hub of Goma when it came under fire from unidentified assailants, the UN's mission in Congo, known as Monusco, said in an email message.
"Attacks against blue helmets can constitute a war crime and Monusco will spare no effort, in conjunction with Congolese authorities, to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous act are brought to justice," mission chief Bintou Keita said. The remaining crew eventually landed the helicopter in Goma.
The two towns lie about 240 kilometers (150 miles) apart in Congo's North Kivu province. Multiple armed groups operate between them, including the Islamist Allied Defence Forces and the M23 rebel group, whose ongoing offensive against the government has displaced more than 521,000 people.
Read more: Why Congo and Rwanda Hurl Insults as Violence Flares: QuickTake
Congo and UN experts accuse Rwanda of supporting M23, which says it is protecting Congolese of Rwandan heritage. Rwanda denies the allegations.
UN peacekeepers and the national army have struggled to contain either rebel group or stabilize the region at large, which has suffered more than two decades of conflict. An intervention by troops from the EAC that began last year has done little to help quell the violence, which in total has displaced more than 4 million people.
Six heads of state from the EAC, including the presidents of Congo and Rwanda, met in Bujumbura, Burundi, on Feb. 4 to recommit to a political solution to the multiple conflicts and to call on armed groups to lay down their weapons.
In a communique posted on Twitter, the regional bloc urged Congo to allow troops from Uganda and South Sudan to join the EAC force already on the ground.
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