Thursday July 28, 2022

At least 15 killed as anti-UN protests flare in east Congo

At least 15 killed as anti-UN protests flare in east Congo

Demonstrators face the United Nations peacekeeping force deployed during a protest in Sake, DR Congo. AP

Three United Nations peacekeepers and at least 12 civilians were killed during a second day of violent anti-UN protests in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday, authorities said.

The protests were spurred by complaints that the UN mission, known as MONUSCO, has failed to protect civilians against militia violence which has raged for years.


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Demonstrations began on Monday in the city of Goma and spread on Tuesday to Butembo, where a UN soldier and two UN police with the mission were shot dead, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters in New York.

In both cities UN peacekeeping troops were accused of retaliating with force as hundreds of protesters threw rocks and petrol bombs, vandalized and set fire to UN buildings.

At least 15 killed as anti-UN protests flare in east Congo
Demonstrators clash with police during a protest in Sake, DR Congo, on Wednesday. AP

A Reuters reporter saw UN peacekeepers shoot dead two protesters in Goma, where government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said at least five people were killed and 50 wounded.

In Butembo at least seven civilians were killed and an unknown number wounded, said the city's police chief Paul Ngoma.

UN peacekeeping missions have been beset by accusations of abuse for years.

"Obviously if there's any responsibility by UN forces for any of the injuries, or any of the deaths, we will follow up on that," Haq said.

UN forces were advised to use tear gas to disperse protesters and only fire warning shots if needed, he said.

At least 15 killed as anti-UN protests flare in east Congo
A demonstrator sits after being wounded during a protest against the UN peacekeeping force in Sake. AP

The protests were called by a faction of the ruling party's youth wing, which has demanded the UN mission withdraw over what it describes as its ineffectiveness.

Resurgent clashes between local troops and the M23 rebel group in eastern Congo in recent months have displaced thousands. Attacks by militants linked to Daesh have also continued despite a year-long state of emergency and joint operations against them by the Congolese and Ugandan armies.

"We have been doing our utmost, not just for years, but really for decades to try to bring stability to Eastern Congo," said Haq, adding that UN peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix is expected to travel to Congo as soon as he can.

Reuters

 

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