DRC: two people killed by peacekeepers at a border post in the east

DRC: two people killed by peacekeepers at a border post in the east

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “outraged” by the deaths of two people on Sunday when peacekeepers opened fire on a border crossing with Uganda in the troubled east of the Democratic Republic of congo.

Mr. Guterres “stresses with the greatest firmness the need to establish responsibility for these events” and approves “the detention of the military personnel implicated in this incident and the immediate opening of an investigation”, specified in a statement a deputy spokesman for the secretary general, Farhan Haq.

In a video of the incident shared on social networks, we see men, at least one in police uniform and another in Congolese military, advancing towards the immobilized convoy on the other side of the closed barrier in 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 from 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”, said deplored the UN mission in a press release.

“The toll is two dead,” said Joël Kitausa, a civil society leader in Kasindi, who reported 14 injured.

Earlier, Barthélemy Kambale Siva, delegate of the governor of North Kivu in Kasindi, had given a report of eight seriously injured including two police officers from the border post.

The head of Monusco, Bintou Keita, said she was “deeply shocked and dismayed by this serious incident”, according to the mission statement.

“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”, said 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”, added the UN mission, without mentioning the nationality of these blue helmets.

The DRC government “condemns and strongly deplores this unfortunate incident, the provisional report of which shows two compatriots dead and 15 others injured”, assured in the evening its spokesman Patrick Muyaya.

Together with Monusco, the authorities “initiated an investigation to establish responsibilities, find out the motivations for such a crime and obtain severe sanctions against the Blue Helmets at the base of this tragedy”, he said. confirmed.

– “Leave room” –

Kinshasa, which called on the Congolese population to “calm”, warns that “the peacekeepers concerned will no longer be able to be part of the MONUSCO contingents, pending the outcome of the plan to withdraw this UN force from the DRC”.

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. Nineteen people, including three peacekeepers, were killed in these violent demonstrations.

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.

Visiting the DRC, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, head of the UN peace department, said on Saturday that he had come to “speak with the Congolese authorities, examine the means by which we can both prevent a recurrence of these tragic incidents and especially working 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.

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