After a week marked by demonstrations against the presence of the UN, there will be no peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At least two people were killed when blue helmets shot at a border post with Uganda, the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Monusco) and a local official said. “Soldiers of the intervention brigade of the Monusco force, returning from vacation, for unknown reasons opened fire on the border post and forced their way through. This serious incident claimed human life and serious injuries,” the UN mission regretted in a press release, without giving a precise assessment.
“The tally is two dead,” said Joël Kitausa, a civil society leader from Kasindi, who reported 14 injured. Monusco head Bintou Keita said she was “deeply shocked and dismayed by this grave incident,” according to the mission statement. “In the face of this unspeakable and irresponsible behavior, the perpetrators of the shooting have been identified and arrested pending the completion of the investigation, which has already begun in collaboration with the Congolese authorities,” specifies Monusco.
“Contacts have also been established with the countries of origin of these soldiers so that court proceedings can be initiated urgently with the participation of victims and witnesses so that exemplary sanctions can be imposed as quickly as possible,” the UN mission added. Earlier in the day, Barthélemy Kambale Siva, delegated officer of the North Kivu Governor in Kasindi, reported eight people seriously injured, including two police officers who were arrested at the border post’s cordon.
A total of 19 people, including three peacekeepers, died in demonstrations last week demanding the withdrawal of the United Nations. The protesters accused the blue helmets of inefficiency in fighting the hundreds of armed groups responsible for the chaos that has plunged the country’s eastern provinces. The UN has been present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1999 and currently maintains 14,000 peacekeeping forces there with an annual budget of one billion dollars.