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U.N. surveillance drone in Congo crashes: sources

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[January 15, 2014]  KINSHASA (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 defense 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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