The United Nations (U.N.) Security Council was scheduled to meet in an emergency session on Saturday after its attack helicopters launched missions against rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), diplomats said.

France’s U.N. mission announced on its Twitter account that it had called for a meeting of the 15-nation body on the offensive launched by M23 rebels.

The U.N. Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Monusco) said in a statement that M23 rebels had launched an offensive with “heavy weapons” early on Saturday and that it had put peacekeepers into action as part of its mandate to “protect civilians”. The attack helicopters, provided by Ukraine, were put on standby on Friday after M23, former troops who launched a mutiny in March, launched a surprise attack. — AFP