Mathias Gillmann, spokesman of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). Photo courtesy of UN
MONUSCO said in a statement that it "regrets the expulsion of its spokesperson by the Congolese government," noting that the mission is committed to continuing to work alongside the Congolese population and authorities to implement the mandate by the UN Security Council.
The statement came after the DRC's foreign ministry released a diplomatic note Wednesday, asking MONUSCO's spokesman Mathias Gillmann to leave the Congolese territory "as soon as possible," given his "insensitive and inopportune remarks."
The DRC government considers that "the presence of this official (Gillmann) on the national territory is not likely to promote a climate of mutual trust and serenity so essential between the Congolese institutions and MONUSCO with a view, not only to the better fulfillment of the mandate entrusted by the UN Security Council but also to complete the transition plan for the purposes of its definitive withdrawal by 2024 as agreed," read the diplomatic note.
The DRC government asked the MONUSCO to process its request as a matter of urgency, without specifying the content of these "indelicate and inopportune statements."
In an interview on the sidelines of the weekly MONUSCO press conference in Kinshasa, the capital of DRC, on July 13, Mathias Gillmann asserted that the deployment of a large part of the resources of MONUSCO and the Congolese army in the fight against the rebels of the Movement du 23 Mars (M23) has "negative implications" on other regions where other armed groups operate.
Thirty-six people have been killed, including three members of the MONUSCO, and about 170 others were injured during the protests, said the government spokesperson Patrick Muyaya at a press conference late Tuesday, adding that the government decided to reassess the agreement on the withdrawal of the MONUSCO amid escalating protests against the MONUSCO in the eastern part of the country.