AT LEAST TEN staff of the United Nations have been killed after the plane in which they were travelling crash and broke into several pieces in the Democratic Republic of Congo this afternoon.
Reports indicated that the plane was trying to land amid heavy rain at the main airport in the capital Kinshasa when the accident occurred; CNN cited the local transport ministry as saying there were 32 people on board the plane.
The plane belonged to MONUSCO, the UN’s mission to the country, which the AP says includes more than 19,000 peacekeeping troops.
Reuters said a local official had put the death toll at at least 23 already, with all three members of the crew being killed as well as 20 of the 29 passengers, 20 of whom were UN staff.
The Reuters report cited an unnamed UN source who indicated that the Bombardier CRJ-300 jet had broken into two and caught fire upon landing.
The flight had originated from the north-east of the country, where over five million people died during a bloody civil war between 1998 and 2003.
The accident comes just days after eight UN staff were killed at the agency’s offices in Afghanistan when a protest against burning of the Quran turned violent.