At least two people were killed in eastern DR Congo on Sunday when peacekeepers opened fire on a border crossing. An investigation into the circumstances of the incident has been opened by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Congo (Monusco).
At least two people were killed on Sunday (July 31) when peacekeepers opened fire on a border crossing with Uganda in the troubled east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where anti-UN protests rocked the region the last week.
In a video of the incident shared on social networks, we see men, including at least one in police uniform and another in Congolese military uniform, advancing towards the immobilized convoy on the other side of the closed barrier at Kasindi, in the territory of Beni, on the border with Uganda.
After a verbal exchange, we see the presumed Blue Helmets firing shots, before opening the barrier and crossing the post.
“Soldiers of the Intervention Brigade of the Monusco force returning from leave opened fire at the border post for unexplained reasons and forced the passage. This serious incident caused loss of life and serious injuries”, deplores the UN mission in a press release without providing a precise assessment.
“The balance sheet is two dead,” said Joel Kitausa, a civil society leader in Kasindi, who also reported 14 injured.
The head of Monusco, Bintou Keita, said she was “deeply shocked and dismayed by this serious incident”, according to the mission statement.
An open investigation
“Faced with this unspeakable and irresponsible behavior, the perpetrators of the shooting have been identified and arrested pending the conclusions of the investigation which has already begun in collaboration with the Congolese authorities”, specifies Monusco.
“Contacts have also been established with the country of origin of these soldiers so that legal proceedings can be initiated urgently with the participation of victims and witnesses, so that exemplary sanctions can be taken as soon as possible”, adds the mission. United Nations, without mentioning the nationality of these peacekeepers.
Earlier in the day, Barthélemy Kambale Siva, official delegate of the governor of North Kivu in Kasindi, questioned by AFP, had given a report of eight seriously injured including two police officers who were committed at the barrier of the border post.
Last week, deadly demonstrations accompanied by destruction and looting took place in several towns in eastern DRC to demand the departure of the United Nations.
In Goma, Butembo, Beni and other localities, demonstrators stormed Monusco facilities. A total of 19 people, including three peacekeepers, were killed in these violent protests.
The demonstrators accused the Blue Helmets of ineffectiveness in the fight against the hundred armed groups responsible for the chaos in which the eastern provinces of the country have been plunged for nearly 30 years.
One of the largest and costliest UN missions in the world, MONUSCO has been present in the DRC since 1999. It currently has more than 14,000 peacekeepers, with an annual budget of one billion dollars.
On a visit to DR Congo, Jean Pierre Lacroix, head of the UN peace department, said on Saturday that he had come to “speak with the Congolese authorities, to examine the means by which we can both prevent a recurrence of these tragic incidents and above all work better together to achieve our goals”.
“We want the conditions to be met, in particular the return of state authority, so that Monusco can complete its mission as soon as possible and leave room for other forms of international support,” he said. he said.
Source: France 24