Protesters attack UN headquarters in DR Congo

At least 5 people have been killed and around 50 injured on July 25, 2022, after hundreds of protesters attacked a United Nations headquarters in Goma, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, demanding that the mission leaves the country for failing to protect the population.

The protest started after President Felix Tshisekedi’s party and civil society organizations called for the demonstration in Goma after the president of the Senate, Modeste Bahati, called on the UN’s MONUSCO mission to leave Congo in mid-July.1

The mission is present in the country for more than 20 years. It is the largest peacekeeping mission in the world.

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According to the United States, around 130 different armed groups are said to be active in DR Congo, many of them concerned with controlling the country’s valuable natural resources such as copper, cobalt, gold and diamonds.2

MONUSCO spokesperson in Congo said the attack took place a day after hostile remarks and threats made by individuals and groups against the United Nations.

Reuters reporters said protesters blocked roads in the city with rocks and pebbles, ransacked offices and carted off some materials and set fire to a gate of the mission’s compound.3

Rioters were dispersed by security forces using tear gas and gunfire, eyewitnesses told DPA.

DR Congo Government spokesperson, Patric Muyaya, said at least 5 people were killed and 50 injured.

Update, July 28

Demonstrations began on Monday, July 25 in the city of Goma and spread on Tuesday to Butembo, where a U.N. soldier and two U.N. police with the mission were shot dead, deputy U.N. spokesperson Farhan Haq said.

Butembo police chief said at least 7 civilians were killed and an unknown number wounded.

This brings the total number of fatalities to 15 – 12 civilians and 3 U.N. members.

A Reuters reporter saw U.N. peacekeepers shoot dead 2 protesters in Goma, where government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said at least 5 people were killed and 50 wounded.4

References:

1 Six dead as rioters storm UN HQ in Congo – AAP – July 25, 2022

2 Riots in front of the headquarters of the UN mission in Goma – AP – July 26, 2022

3 Protesters ransack UN peacekeepers’ offices in eastern DR Congo – Reuters – July 25, 2022

4 At least 15 killed as anti-U.N. protests flare in east Congo – Reuters – July 27, 2022

Featured image credit: Tom Ndahiro (stillshot)

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