DR Congo to reassess UN force after 36 killed in protests

AP , Tuesday 2 Aug 2022

Congo's government is reassessing the presence of United Nations peacekeepers after protests against the force in the country's east have killed at least 36 people.

Protest against the UN peacekeeping force in DR Congo
File Photo: Demonstrators clash with police during a protest against the United Nations peacekeeping force (MONUSCO) deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Sake, some 15 miles (24 kms) west of Goma, Wednesday July 27, 2022. Officials say more than 15 people have been killed and dozens injured during the demonstrations against the UN mission in the country, heading into their third day. AP


President Felix Tshisekedi chaired a crisis meeting as demonstrations escalated after UN peacekeepers opened fire on civilians, killing three, in Kasindi, an eastern border post with Uganda.

In addition to the deaths in Kasindi others have died in the eastern towns of Goma, Butembo, Uvira and Kanyabayonga, Congo's government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said in a statement Tuesday.

He said the government had consulted civic groups in the affected areas and ``the populations made a clear request: that of seeing (the UN peacekeepers) leave Congo,'' he said.

At the crisis meeting, Congo's president said that he spoke with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who expressed deep condolences after the killings at the Kasindi post, according to the statement.

Tshisekedi said shared his total disapproval of the behavior of the UN peacekeepers and told the secretary-general that those guilty of the violence must be severely punished.

Guterres had called for justice over the weekend.

The government will convene a meeting with the UN mission to discuss the possibility of its withdrawal, Muyaya said in the statement. No date has been set for the meeting.

The UN force in Congo, known as MONUSCO, has about 16,000 uniformed personnel but has not succeeded in stabilizing the country's volatile east. Recently the M23 rebels have carried out numerous attacks.

The UN force has already withdrawn from two provinces of Congo, Kasai and Tanganyika.

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