Democratic Republic of the Congo tightens security measures in the east after unrest against the UN

Soldiers and armed police were deployed to several cities in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo on Wednesday after 15 people, including three United Nations peacekeepers, were killed in anti-UN protests, reporters told AFP.

On Monday, mobs stormed a UN peacekeeping base and supply center in the city of Goma in North Kivu province, looting valuables and shouting hostile slogans.

The protests quickly spread, and on Tuesday three UN peacekeepers were killed in an attack on their base in the city of Butembo.

According to official figures, 12 protesters were killed, not counting peacekeepers.

The UN mission in the DRC, known as MONUSCO, is one of the largest peacekeeping operations in the world.

But he is regularly criticized in the turbulent east of the Congo, where many accuse him of not doing enough to end decades of attacks by armed groups.

On Wednesday, AFP correspondents recorded increased security measures in the cities of Beni and Butembo, as well as in Goma, the provincial capital.

Armed police and soldiers patrolled Beni in jeeps, and the highway leading from the city to several MONUSCO bases was heavily guarded.

Relative calm has also returned to Goma, where shops have begun to reopen as security forces have been deployed around the city.

In the city of Sake, about 30 kilometers from Goma, Congolese police used tear gas to disperse protesters near a UN base surrounded by soldiers and police.

“We will protest until they leave,” said Jackson Kibuya, a protester in Saka, holding up a banner reading “Bye MONUSCO.”

More than 120 armed groups roam the troubled region, where massacres of civilians are commonplace and conflicts have displaced millions of people.