DRC: at least 5 dead in anti-UN protests

A Reuters reporter saw two demonstrators shot dead by UN peacekeepers as protesters threw stones, vandalized and set fire to agency buildings.

According to another reporter, some stormed the homes of UN staff who were evacuated from the city in a car convoy escorted by the army.

The demonstrations began on Monday when hundreds of people attacked and looted the warehouse of MONUSCO – the United Nations stabilization mission in the country – a warehouse in Goma, demanding that the mission leave the country, and broke out again on Tuesday.

They were called in by a faction of the ruling party’s youth wing, which accuses MONUSCO of failing to protect civilians from militia violence.

“At least 5 dead, about 50 injured (in Goma),” government spokesman Patrick Muyaya tweeted, without specifying who was responsible.

A Reuters reporter at the scene said peacekeepers fired tear gas and live bullets at the crowd, killing two and injuring at least two others.

The protesters were initially peaceful but became violent when some picked up tear gas grenades from the ground and threw them back into the MONUSCO warehouse.

The military and police who arrived at the scene did not open fire.

Local authorities called for calm despite similar protests erupting about 200 kilometers north of Goma in the city of Butembo on Tuesday.

Local activist Afsa Paluku told Reuters that security forces intervened and opened fire on the demonstrators, killing two and injuring several others.

Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

MONUSCO has yet to comment on Tuesday’s protests and a spokesperson could not be contacted.

The mission has been phased out over the years.

Renewed clashes between local troops and the M23 rebel group in eastern Congo have displaced thousands of people. Attacks by IS-linked fighters also continue despite a year-long state of emergency and joint operations against them by the Congolese and Ugandan armies.

MONUSCO took over the previous peacekeeping operation in 2010.

As of November 2021, more than 12,000 troops and 1,600 police have been stationed in the Congo.

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