At least five killed in anti-UN protests in eastern Congo

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At least five people were killed and about 50 injured during the second day of violent protests against the UN in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo city of Goma on Tuesday, a government spokesman said.

The Reuters reporter saw UN peacekeepers shoot two demonstrators as protesters threw rocks, vandalized and set UN buildings on fire.

According to another reporter, some stormed the homes of UN staff who were evacuated from the city in a car convoy escorted by the army.

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

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An injured man drives off on a motorcycle after protesters stormed and ransacked a warehouse belonging to the peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) at UN facilities in Goma on July 25, 2022. — Protesters stormed a UN base in the eastern Congolese city of Goma today, a journalist told AFP, demanding the withdrawal of peacekeepers from the region.
(Photo by Michel Lunanga/AFP) (Photo by MICHEL LUANGA/AFP via Getty Images)

They were called in by a faction of the ruling party’s youth wing, which accuses MONUSCO of failing to protect civilians from militia violence.

“At least 5 dead, about 50 injured (in Goma),” government spokesman Patrick Muyaya tweeted, without specifying who was responsible.

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

The protesters were initially peaceful but became violent when some picked up tear gas grenades from the ground and threw them back into the MONUSCO warehouse.

Army and police officers Those who arrived at the scene did not open fire.

Local authorities called for calm despite similar protests erupting about 200 kilometers north of Goma in the city of Butembo on Tuesday.

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Looters flee from the looting of a warehouse belonging to the peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) at UN facilities in Goma on July 25, 2022.  “Today, protesters stormed a UN base in the eastern Congolese city of Goma,” a journalist told AFP, demanding the withdrawal of peacekeepers from the region.

Looters flee from the looting of a warehouse belonging to the peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) at UN facilities in Goma on July 25, 2022. “Today, protesters stormed a UN base in the eastern Congolese city of Goma,” a journalist told AFP, demanding the withdrawal of peacekeepers from the region.
(Photo by Michel Lunanga/AFP) (Photo by MICHEL LUANGA/AFP via Getty Images)

Local activist Afsa Paluku told Reuters that security forces intervened and opened fire on demonstrators, killing two and injuring several others.

The police don’t respond immediately to a request for comment.

MONUSCO has yet to comment on Tuesday’s protests and a spokesperson could not be contacted.

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The mission has been phased out over the years.

Renewed clashes between local troops and the M23 rebel group in eastern Congo have displaced thousands of people. Militant attacks are associated with Islamic state also continued despite a year-long state of emergency and joint operations against them by the Congolese and Ugandan armies.

Soldiers of the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo try to control a crowd of protesters who storm the base of the UN peacekeeping operation MONUSCO, in Goma, July 26, 2022.  - UN protests in the city of Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, saw an AFP journalist.  Demonstrations against the perceived ineffectiveness of the UN peacekeeping operation MONUSCO erupted on 25 July and turned violent when protesters stormed the mission's local headquarters and logistics base.

Soldiers of the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo try to control a crowd of protesters who storm the base of the UN peacekeeping operation MONUSCO, in Goma, July 26, 2022. – UN protests in the city of Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, saw an AFP journalist. Demonstrations against the perceived ineffectiveness of the UN peacekeeping operation MONUSCO erupted on 25 July and turned violent when protesters stormed the mission’s local headquarters and logistics base.
(Photo by Michel Lunanga/AFP) (Photo by MICHEL LUANGA/AFP via Getty Images)

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

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As of November 2021, over 12,000 troops and 1,600 police have been stationed in the Congo.