A United Nations spokesperson says no one survived Tuesday when a helicopter crashed in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo with eight U.N. peacekeepers on board.
Earlier, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the helicopter was carrying six crew members, all from the Pakistani military, and two military personnel – one from Serbia and one from the Russian Federation – when it went down in North Kivu province.
Dujarric said the group was on a reconnaissance mission in the area of Tshanzu, southeast of the city of Rutshuru.
“The helicopter went there to monitor the situation where there has been fighting,” he said. He declined to state the cause of the crash, saying an investigation is under way.
The U.N. Stabilization Mission in Congo released a map on Twitter pinpointing the area of the crash.
Separately, the Congolese army accused the M23 rebel group of shooting down the helicopter and said it went down in territory controlled by the rebels.
In an interview with VOA’s French to Africa Service, M23 spokesperson Willy Ngoma accused the army of shooting down the aircraft while firing on M23 forces.
The sides have clashed in North Kivu in recent days. Dujarric acknowledged the clashes without assigning blame for the crash.
Margaret Besheer contributed to this report