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Last Updated: Friday, 3 June, 2005, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
DR Congo militia kill peacekeeper
Ishbel Matheson
BBC News

UN peacekeeper holding gun handed over by Congolese militiaman
UN peacekeepers are struggling to keep a lid on the violence in the east
A United Nations soldier who came under fire in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has died of his injuries.

The UN mission was attacked on Thursday in Ituri, an area renowned for its lawlessness and violence.

Meanwhile, two employees from the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres have been kidnapped by armed men in Ituri.

Despite attempts to disarm Ituri's various militia, the region remains awash with weapons; some 50,000 people have died in clashes since 1999.

Anarchy prevails

The UN peacekeepers had been accompanying a human rights investigation team to the village of Lugo in the north of Ituri.

The team was following up allegations of the mass rape of local women by militiamen in March.

As the mission prepared to leave the village the helicopters they were travelling in came under heavy fire.

Four UN peacekeepers were injured, one Nepalese soldier later died of his injuries.

The UN has more than 15,000 peacekeepers in the country, but has struggled to keep a lid on violence in the east where anarchy prevails and has cost the lives of tens of thousands of Congolese civilians.

Aid workers are also at risk.

On Thursday, two MSF employees were kidnapped on their way to a camp for displaced people.

According to eyewitnesses, their car was stopped by armed men.

The French aid worker and Congolese driver were taken out of the vehicle and led into the bush.

MSF is demanding their immediate and unconditional release.

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