Protesters in front of the UN mission headquarters in Goma
Four people were killed by electrocution on Wednesday during the dispersal of a demonstration against peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), bringing the toll of these protests to 15 dead and around 60 wounded.
When a group of youths attempted to besiege the headquarters of the UN Mission for the Stabilization of the DRC, known as MONUSCO, in Uvira, the police used warning shots to disperse them.
A high voltage electric wire was hit by bullets and fell on four protesters who died of electrocution, according to local authorities.
Protests against the UN mission erupted earlier this week.
On Tuesday, in the neighboring province of North Kivu, three peacekeepers and twelve demonstrators were killed during rallies.
On the same day, Ottawa confirmed that the Canadian peacekeepers were safe and sound. Six members of the Canadian Armed Forces are present in the DRC.
Protesters accuse the UN mission of being ineffective in tracking down the hundred local and foreign armed groups active in eastern Congo for almost 30 years.
On Monday and Tuesday, demonstrators ransacked, looted and destroyed UN mission facilities in Goma, Butembo and Nyamilima, according to several testimonies.
The government and MONUSCO have announced on Tuesday that it had opened an investigation to find out the causes and the course of these incidents.
The demonstrators were responding to a call from associations and politicians, in particular the citizen movement Fight for Change (Lucha), the youth of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS, ruling party) or even the President of the Senate, Modeste Bahati, who had invited MONUSCO to pack up and leave after 22 years of presence in the DRC.
Present in the DRC since 1999, MONUC, which became MONUSCO in 2010, currently has over 14,000 peacekeepers, with an annual budget of $1 billion.
According to a report by the NGO Initiative for Human Rights in Burundi (IDHB), hundreds of Burundian soldiers and militia were sent clandestinely to the east of the DRC since the end of 2021 to hunt down the rebel group RED-Tabara.
The Burundian army has always denied any secret operation.
But according to the NGO based abroad, which collected numerous testimonies (soldiers, families, members of the ruling party and the opposition ), soldiers and Imbonerakure – members of the ruling party's youth movement – were secretly deployed as early as December 2021.
With information from Agence France-Presse