DRC: 15 dead and more than 60 injured in protests against the UN

DRC: 15 dead and more than 60 injured in protests against the UN

Three UN mission members and at least 12 protesters were killed in two towns in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday, the second day of protests against the United Nations, accused of ineffectiveness in the fight against armed groups.

In Butembo, the third largest city in the province of North Kivu, “three dead among the members of Monusco (UN Mission in the DRC), two Indians and a Moroccan, and one injured” have been identified and from “protesters side, seven dead and several injured“, said Colonel Paul Ngoma, head of the urban police.

This is'”a Blue Helmet and (of) two members of the United Nations Police”, said MONUSCO in a press release, adding that “assailants violently snatched weapons from elements of the Congolese National Police and fired at point-blank range at our peacekeepers”. The UN Mission “strongly condemns this unjustified attack“, she added.

During a joint press conference with the number two of Monusco in Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, government spokesman Patrick Muyaya confirmed the death toll of 15 and reported 61 injured in the recent unrest. “In no case is violence justified”, he said, adding that “a joint investigation” would be conducted.

“bye bye Monusco”

Farhan Haq, a UN spokesman, told reporters in New York that the situation on the ground was “very unstable” and that “reinforcements are being mobilized”.

A Butembo, important commercial crossroads where seven people were killed, activities were paralyzed throughout the day. In front of a Monusco base, demonstrators were dispersed by the security forces, according to several witnesses. “Among these young people, there are weapons“, had lamented earlier Colonel Ngoma.

A Goma, the provincial capital, the incidents made “five dead“among the demonstrators, according to Mr. Muyaya. An AFP correspondent on the spot noted the death of a demonstrator, hit in the head by a bullet apparently fired from inside the Monusco logistics base around 11 a.m. A Congolese army ambulance then picked up the body.

Early in the morning, hundreds of demonstrators had invaded the surroundings of the Monusco logistics base in Goma and attacked the mission’s transit camp located outside the city center.

“We no longer want MONUSCO”, “bye bye Monusco”, chanted posters of this “campaign”. The Congolese security forces had difficulty containing the crowd around the logistics base.

“Looters”

In the DRC, demonstrations are regularly organized to demand the departure of peacekeepers, accused of inefficiency in the fight against dozens of local and foreign armed groups that have destabilized the east of the country for almost 30 years.

In Beni, a town 350 km from the capital of North Kivu, activities were also paralyzed by anti-Monusco demonstrators. In several neighborhoods, protesters burned tires. Gas stations remained closed as well as shops and markets. Soldiers were deployed on national road No. 4 which leads to the local base of Monusco.

Hundreds of protesters had already taken to the streets on Monday in Goma, at the call of civil society organizations and the president’s party Felix Tshisekedi, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS). After storming the Monusco headquarters and its logistics base, they broke windows, walls and looted computers, chairs, tables and valuables.

The Congolese government condemned “any form of attack against United Nations personnel and facilities”, promising that “those responsible (would be) prosecuted and severely punished”.

Present in the DRC since 1999, MONUC (UN Mission in Congo) which became Monusco (UN Mission for Stabilization in the DRC) in 2010, currently has more 14,000 peacekeepers. It is one of the largest and costliest UN missions in the world, with an annual budget of one billion dollars.

“Our most ardent wish is to see the East (of the DRC) stabilized“, assured Khassim Diagne deputy head of Monusco during the joint press conference.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.