Three people were killed and four vehicles burnt to ashes in a civilian attack on the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in North Kivu province on Tuesday night. The incident happened at Munigi, about 6 kilometers Northern entrance to Goma City.
A statement issued by the UN Mission in the wee hours of Wednesday morning shows that MONUSCO soldiers were returning to Goma from Kiwanja in the company of DRC government soldiers when they were intercepted by hundreds of protestors. The protestors who had barricaded the road with heavy stones and wood questioned why MONUSCO would freely access Kiwanja, which is under the M23 rebels since October last year.
According to the statement, the protestors demanded that MONUSCO officials open all their trucks for inspection. The MONUSCO troops opposed the demand prompting the protestors to torch four of the trucks as they looted property in others. According to the statement, in the process of containing the fragile situation, MONUSCO soldiers started firing bullets, which ended the lives of three protestors.
“MONUSCO deplores the death of three demonstrators during the violent attack on its convoy early Tuesday evening near Munigi. The Blue Helmets were returning from a supply mission in Kiwanja and we were going to Goma, accompanied by FARDC. 2km from Munigi, they were attacked by demonstrators who had previously barricaded the road with large stones, thus forcing the convoy to stop. The attackers set fire to four trucks of the convoy before stealing their cargo. Three people, unfortunately, lost their lives during the scuffles, while the Blue Helmets and the FARDC tried to protect the convoy,” reads the statement.
Bintou Keita, a Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Head of MONUSCO, expressed her sympathy with the families of the deceased protestors. Keita says that MONUSCO nevertheless announces the opening of “a joint investigation” with the Congolese authorities to ” determine the circumstances of these regrettable deaths “.
Locals have recently been in arms against MONUSCO for its failure to end insecurity in the Eastern part of the county for more than 20 years it has spent deployed there. Locals also accuse MONUSCO of failure to launch an assault against M23 rebels who have captured several areas in Rutshuru, Nyiragongo, and Masisi territories including Ugandan-DR Congo main borders of Bunagana and Busanza.
On Monday this week, locals renewed street protests in Goma city against Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) deployed under the East African Community Regional Force for failure to launch an assault on M23 rebels.