By Elwyn Lopez
(CNN) – A U.N. peacekeeper was killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in recent fighting, according to a statement release Sunday from the spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
The Tanzanian peacekeeper was part the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the unstable eastern part of the vast nation in Central Africa. The mission was joining the Congolese military in an effort to protect civilians about 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Goma, the largest city in the region, the statement said.
The mission said Friday it was on “high alert” and monitoring the clashes between Congolese forces and M23 rebels. The U.N .mission stated that about 5,000 civilians from the town of Kibumba crossed the border into Rwanda on Friday.
In the past year, clashes continued throughout the country’s eastern region with rebels temporarily occupying Goma in November, according to the U.N.
The organization said in the statement Sunday that it will remain committed to “taking all necessary actions in line with Security Council resolution 2098 (2013) to protect civilians” in the region.
The eastern part of the DRC is a mineral-rich region at the epicenter of a bloody political and ethnic conflict involving its neighbors to the east, Uganda and Rwanda.
The M23 group was named for a peace deal reached on March 23, 2009, which it accuses the government of violating.