Ban saddened by deaths of Indian peacekeepers in Congo

Ban saddened by deaths of Indian peacekeepers in Congo United Nations: Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday expressed sadness over the death of three Indian peacekeepers in Congo when rebel forces attacked their base in Kirumba province of the central African nation.

"The Secretary-General conveys his sincere condolences to the Government of India and to the families of the three soldiers," he said.

"The Secretary-General condemns the assault and calls on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to launch an immediate investigation into this incident and ensure that the perpetrators are swiftly identified and brought to justice," Ban said in a statement issued by his office.

The soldiers were from the 19 Kumaon Regiment of the Army and were deployed in Congo as part of the United Nations peacekeeping force, army officials said here.

The UN said that at least six others were injured in surprise attacks by "unidentified armed men" in Kirumba, an eastern province of North Kivu.

Indian army officials in New Delhi, however, said that the men belonged to the militia group Mayi Mayi.

The incident took place happened when around 50-60 suspected rebels of militia group ?MAYI-MAYI? attacked the unit base in Kirumba province in Congo around 6.20 a.m. (IST) today.

While a small group of four to five members distracted the guard on duty by striking a conversation with him, the remaining members of the rebel group attacked the periphery of the post from the surrounding jungle, officials said.

After five minutes of attack, the rebels fled into the forest, taking advantage of darkness, they said.

With over 3,500 soldiers deployed under the 301 Infantry Brigade Group, India has the largest contingent of troops as part of the U.N. peacekeeping force called MONUSCO in DRC.

Last month, Lieutenant-General Chander Prakash, was appointed as the Force Commander of MONUSCO.