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U.N. Surveillance Drone Crashes In Congo, Airport Sources Report

An Italian-made surveillance drone belonging to the UN's MONUSCO peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo wai
An Italian-made surveillance drone belonging to the UN's MONUSCO peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo waits to take off during its official launching ceremony at the airport in the northeastern city of Goma, capital of strife-torn North Kivu province, on December 3, 2013. The United Nations announced its peacekeeping troops will go after other armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after helping to defeat the M23 rebel force. The MONUSCO mission in the DR Congo currently has two such unarmed drones. Both are fitted exclusively for reconnaissance missions, to back up its ground forces. The mission is to be equipped with three more by March next year. AFP PHOTO/STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

KINSHASA, Jan 15 (Reuters) - An unmanned aircraft used by U.N. peacekeepers in Democratic Republic of Congo crashed on Wednesday near the eastern town of Goma, sources at the airport and interior ministry said.

The United Nations force started using drones - a first for the world body - last month to help it monitor armed groups operating along Congo's border zone with Rwanda and Uganda.

"One of these U.N. drones crashed not long after it took off," a senior official Congo's interior ministry told Reuters, asking not to be named. There were no reports of casualties.

A source at Goma's airport confirmed the incident. A spokesman for the U.N. mission was not available for comment.

The Falco drones used by the U.N. force are manufactured by Selex ES, a unit of Italian defence group Finmeccanica . The firm was not immediately available for comment. (Reporting by Bienvenu-Marie Bakumanya; Writing by David Lewis; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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