New York, US - The UN said its peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are standing by to support local authorities following an explosion at an ammunition depot. A brief UN statement, obtained by PANA in New York on Sunday, stated that the blast occurred on Friday when a lightning strike apparently sparked a fire in a military barrack in Mbuji Mayi, one of the DRC's largest cities.
It said the UN Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) said that 'over 20 people died, more than 50 were injured and many houses destroyed by the blast, causing desolation in the city'.
MONUSCO head and Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Martin Kobler, expressed his deep sadness at the loss of lives and extended his condolences to the families who lost loved ones.
The statement quoted the UN envoy as saying: 'I wish a speedy recovery to all the injured', adding that, 'I have instructed our office in Mbuji Mayi to stand by and support local authorities in dealing with the situation'.
One of the main objectives of MONUSCO peacekeepers, also known as 'blue helmets', as mandated by the UN Security Council, is to assist the DRC Government in protecting civilians in the country.