At least five dead and 50 injured in a demonstration against the UN mission in Congo | International
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At least five people died this Tuesday and another 50 were injured in Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in the protests that broke out on Monday in several cities in the east of the country to demand the withdrawal of the peacekeeping mission. of the United Nations (Monusco) in the DRC, confirmed Tuesday Patrick Muyaya, spokesman for the Congolese government. The also Minister of Communication did not indicate the cause of the death of these people nor did he name their authors, but a journalist from the Reuters agency declared having witnessed how blue helmets fired live fire at the protesters, shooting two of them dead. and injuring at least two others.
“At least five dead, about 50 injured,” spokesman Muyaya wrote in a tweet, announcing a press conference with the deputy special representative of the UN Secretary General in Congo, Khassim Diagne, to report on the “human and material balance” , as well as on “the consequences to be drawn” from this event.
Muyaya later acknowledged that Congolese security forces had fired “warning shots” to prevent attacks on UN personnel. However, the Reuters agency reporter covering the protest assured that the Congolese police and soldiers did not open fire on the demonstrators and that it was the blue helmets who tried to repel the crowd using tear gas and, finally, shooting with live ammunition. real, which killed at least two people and injured two others, according to his account.
#DRC : #Rubber au moins 5 morts, une cinquantaine des blessés, nous reviendrons dans la journée avec @k_diagne give a #BriefingSpecial sur le bilan humain, materiels ainsi que les conséquences à tirer. Nous ferons aussi le point du processus de retrait déjà entamé de la @MONUSCO.
– Patrick Muyaya (@PatrickMuyaya) July 26, 2022
In the early hours of the morning, hundreds of protesters had invaded the surroundings of the Monusco logistics base while others also attacked the transit camp of the mission for the reinsertion of former members of armed groups —including former child soldiers— on the outskirts. of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province. Congolese security forces, meanwhile, tried to contain the protest in the vicinity of the logistics base. “We no longer want Monusco”, “Bye bye (goodbye) Monusco”, was read on posters of the protesters.
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The day before, after having erected barricades on the main avenues of the city, the demonstrators divided into two groups and stormed the local headquarters of Monusco and its logistics base. A mob entered the headquarters of the United Nations mission, smashing windows and walls, before looting the facilities and setting fire to at least one sentry box. Numerous videos on social networks showed people taking all kinds of objects, from bed frames and mattresses to doors and windows. Some raided the homes of UN workers who were evacuated under military escort, according to Reuters.
The looting has been repeated this Tuesday, this time in the transit camp for ex-combatants in the process of reinsertion managed by Monusco.
#DRC RUBBER. Après les malheureux événements d’hier, mise à sac ce matin d’un camp de transit d’ex combattants candidates au désarmament, parmi lesquels des enfants. To whom benefite cette escalade? Certainement pas à la RDC, que sera mise au ban des Nations. pic.twitter.com/N6rCpcEXqw
— Grégoire Kiro (@kiro_gregoire) July 26, 2022
The protest had been called by civil society organizations and by a youth faction of President Félix Tshisekedi’s ruling party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS). On July 15, the president of the Senate, Modeste Bahati, had asked the blue helmets in Goma to “pack their bags” for their inability to restore peace in a country that has practically never known it. Although the two successive wars in Congo since 1988 officially ended in 2003, at least 122 armed groups are still active in the east of the country, according to the Kivu Security Barometer (KST). This situation has been aggravated by the resurgence in November 2021 of a powerful militia, the M23, in which many Congolese see the hand of neighboring Rwanda, an accusation that the Rwandan government denies.
Monusco, present in the DRC since 1999, is considered one of the UN’s most important and costly missions, with 14,100 soldiers currently deployed and an annual budget of one billion dollars. Its defenders argue that, without it, the violence in Congo would have been much worse in its more than two decades of presence in the country, and that, despite its size, its forces are insufficient to guarantee the security of a country whose size almost five times that of Spain. His detractors argue, however, his passivity in the face of massacres such as the one in the city of Kisangani (northeast) in 2002, in which some 1,200 people died, according to Amnesty International, despite his presence in the city, or that of Kiwanja (east ) in 2008, when 150 people were massacred and many women raped 800 meters from the local headquarters of the United Nations mission.
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