Sat. Aug 6th, 2022

At least 5 killed as anti-UN protests flare in east Congo

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At least five people were killed and about 50 wounded during a second day of violent anti-United Nations protests in Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern city of Goma on Tuesday, a government spokesman said.

A Reuters reporter saw U.N. peacekeepers shoot two demonstrators dead as protesters threw rocks, vandalized and set fire to U.N. buildings.

Some stormed the houses of U.N. workers who were evacuated from the city in a convoy of vehicles escorted by the army, another reporter said.

Demonstrations began on Monday, when hundreds attacked and looted a MONUSCO warehouse in Goma demanding that the mission leave the country, and flared again on Tuesday. 

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A wounded man is rushed away on a motorcycle after protesters stormed and looted a warehouse belonging to the peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) at the UN facilities in Goma on July 25, 2022. - Protesters stormed a United Nations base in the eastern Congolese city of Goma today, an AFP journalist said, demanding the departure of peacekeepers from the region. 

A wounded man is rushed away on a motorcycle after protesters stormed and looted a warehouse belonging to the peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) at the UN facilities in Goma on July 25, 2022. – Protesters stormed a United Nations base in the eastern Congolese city of Goma today, an AFP journalist said, demanding the departure of peacekeepers from the region. 
(Photo by Michel Lunanga / AFP) (Photo by MICHEL LUNANGA/AFP via Getty Images)

They were called by a faction of the ruling party’s youth wing that accuses MONUSCO of failing to protect civilians against militia violence.

“At least 5 dead, around 50 wounded (in Goma),” government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said in a tweet, without saying who was responsible.

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

Protesters were initially peaceful, but turned violent as some picked tear-gas grenades off the ground and threw them back at the MONUSCO warehouse.

Army and police officers deployed to the scene did not open fire.

Local officials have called for calm, even as similar protests broke out around 200 km (124 miles) north of Goma in the city of Butembo on Tuesday.

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Looters flee the scene of a looted warehouse belonging to the peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) at the UN facilities in Goma on July 25, 2022. - Protesters stormed a United Nations base in the eastern Congolese city of Goma today, an AFP journalist said, demanding the departure of peacekeepers from the region. 

Looters flee the scene of a looted warehouse belonging to the peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) at the UN facilities in Goma on July 25, 2022. – Protesters stormed a United Nations base in the eastern Congolese city of Goma today, an AFP journalist said, demanding the departure of peacekeepers from the region. 
(Photo by Michel Lunanga / AFP) (Photo by MICHEL LUNANGA/AFP via Getty Images)

A local activist at the scene, Afsa Paluku, told Reuters security forces intervened and fired at demonstrators, killing two and wounding several others.

The police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

MONUSCO has not yet commented on Tuesday’s protests and a spokesman could not be reached.

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The mission has been gradually withdrawing for years.

Resurgent clashes between local troops and the M23 rebel group in east Congo have displaced thousands. Attacks by militants linked to Islamic State have also continued despite a year-long state of emergency and joint operations against them by the Congolese and Ugandan armies.

Soldiers of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s armed forces try to control a crowd of protesters storming a base of the UN peacekeeping operation MONUSCO, in Goma, on July 26, 2022. - A demonstrator was shot dead on July 26 on the second day of anti-UN protests in the eastern DR Congo city of Goma, an AFP journalist saw. Demonstrations against the perceived ineffectiveness of the UN peacekeeping operation MONUSCO erupted on July 25, and turned violent when protesters stormed the mission’s local headquarters and a logistical base. 

Soldiers of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s armed forces try to control a crowd of protesters storming a base of the UN peacekeeping operation MONUSCO, in Goma, on July 26, 2022. – A demonstrator was shot dead on July 26 on the second day of anti-UN protests in the eastern DR Congo city of Goma, an AFP journalist saw. Demonstrations against the perceived ineffectiveness of the UN peacekeeping operation MONUSCO erupted on July 25, and turned violent when protesters stormed the mission’s local headquarters and a logistical base. 
(Photo by Michel Lunanga / AFP) (Photo by MICHEL LUNANGA/AFP via Getty Images)

MONUSCO – the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo – took over an earlier peacekeeping operation in 2010.

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It had more than 12,000 troops and 1,600 police deployed in Congo as of November 2021.



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