Sun. Feb 5th, 2023
Protests in eastern region of DRC

On the second day of protests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s volatile northeastern region, at least 15 people were killed. Anti-United Nations protests began on Monday, with demonstrators alleging the UN has failed to stop a rise in devastating attacks by armed groups, some of which have been active in the area for years.

Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, has strongly condemned the attack on the UN peacekeepers serving in the Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).

According to the reports, two Indian BSF officers and a Moroccan “blue helmet” were killed and an Egyptian police officer was injured.

In a statement issued by the Deputy Spokesperson, Farhan Haq said, “The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the fallen peacekeepers, as well as the governments and the people of India and Morocco.”

The UN said that the protesters had “violently snatched weapons” from Congolese police and fired at peacekeeping forces.

Jaishankar, the External Affairs Minister of India, said on Twitter, “The perpetrators of these outrageous attacks must be held accountable and brought to justice.”

Furthermore, the UN chief has affirmed MONUSCO’s commitment to work with the Congolese government to fully investigate the incidents.

What is MONUSCO?

The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) took over from another UN peacekeeping operation in July 2010, the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC).

It is one of the biggest peacekeeping missions of the United Nations. As many accuse it, it has come under scrutiny and criticism in the troubled east because it fails to end the bloodshed by armed groups in the area.

More than 120 armed groups are active in the region, making it extremely turbulent. According to the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, millions have been displaced because of the violence in recent years. In the attacks across eastern DRC last month, which included loot and plunder, abductions, nearly 97 civilians lost their lives.

Protesters smashed windows and looted the valuables, while helicopters airlifted UN peacekeeping staff from the premises, Aljazeera reported.

The UN Chief condemns all the multiple attacks on the UN bases across the region, “including looting and setting fire to the residences of United Nations personnel.”

As per the Status of Forces agreement between the UN and Congolese authorities, “which guarantees the inviolability of United Nations premises. He underscores that any attacks directed against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime. He calls upon the Congolese authorities to investigate these incidents and swiftly bring those responsible to justice. ”  (UN News)

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