WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Friday after UN peacekeepers were attacked in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing at least 14 and injuring at least 40:
“I strongly condemn today’s brutal attack in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on UN Peacekeepers, in what the international body is calling the worst attack on peacekeepers in recent history.
“I am deeply concerned about the increased violence against the brave men and women of the UN Peacekeeping forces around the world who continue to be targets of these attacks. In 2017, we have already lost 96 peacekeepers to similar violence and there must be no impunity for such attacks. I join UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in calling this attack ‘a war crime’ and in urging Congolese authorities to swiftly investigate and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“UN peacekeepers often work under extraordinarily dangerous and difficult conditions to bring peace and protect innocent civilians. Since WWII, UN peacekeepers have served and sacrificed in over 64 conflicts and in just the past 10 years, over 1,300 were killed in deliberate attacks. The UN must do more to ensure their safety and protection as they carry out their missions and I urge the UN to pass reforms that will strengthen the security posture of peacekeeping operations to help prevent further attacks.”