Home mission statement UN force admits shooting at DR Congo border post

UN force admits shooting at DR Congo border post


UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (photo from February 2022) said he was “saddened and dismayed” to learn of the shooting – Copyright AFP OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE

Seros Muyisa

UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was ‘outraged’ after two people were killed and several others injured when UN peacekeepers opened fire during an incident in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the Ugandan border on Sunday.

The UN force MONUSCO, admitted that some of its blue helmets had opened fire “for unexplained reasons”, adding that arrests had already been made.

Guterres was “saddened and appalled” to learn of the shooting, according to a UN statement.

“The Secretary-General insists in the strongest terms on the need to establish responsibility for these events.

“He welcomes the decision of his special representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo to detain MONUSCO personnel involved in the incident and to immediately open an investigation,” he added.

Video of the incident, shared on social media, shows men, at least one in police uniform and another in army uniform, advancing towards the immobilized UN convoy behind a closed barrier in Kasindi.

The city is in the territory of Beni, in the east of the DR Congo, on the border with Uganda.

After a verbal exchange, peacekeepers appeared to open fire before opening the barrier and crossing as people dispersed or hid.

“During this incident, soldiers from the MONUSCO Force Intervention Brigade returning from leave opened fire on the border post for unexplained reasons and forced their way through,” the mission said on Sunday. UN in Kasindi in a statement.

“This serious incident resulted in deaths and serious injuries.”

The Democratic Republic of Congo “strongly condemns and deplores this unfortunate incident in which two compatriots died and 15 others were injured according to a provisional table,” government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said in a statement.

– ‘Shocked and dismayed’ –

The government said it had launched an investigation with MONUSCO to establish who was responsible, why the shooting took place and would ensure “severe penalties” were meted out.

The UN envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo, 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,” MONUSCO said.

The UN mission said the countries from which the troops came had been contacted so that legal proceedings could be initiated quickly, with the participation of witnesses and survivors, which could lead to exemplary sanctions.

– Murderous region –

Earlier, Barthelemy Kambale Siva, the North Kivu governor’s representative in Kasindi, said that “eight people, including two policemen who were working at the barrier, were seriously injured” in the incident.

Kambale Siva, questioned by AFP, did not specify why the UN convoy had been prevented from crossing.

More than 120 militias operate in the troubled east of the DRC. The UN first deployed an observer mission to the region in 1999.

In 2010, it became the MONUSCO peacekeeping mission — the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — with a mandate to conduct offensive operations.

There were 230 deaths among the force, according to the UN.

– Calls for the departure of UN forces –

Last week, deadly demonstrations demanding the departure of the United Nations took place in several towns in eastern DRC.

A total of 19 people, including three blue helmets, were killed.

The anger has been fueled by the feeling that MONUSCO is not doing enough to stop attacks by armed groups.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix was in the central African country on Saturday to “talk to the Congolese authorities”, he said.

“(They) would be looking at ways we can both avoid a repeat of these tragic incidents and, most importantly, work better together to achieve our goals,” he said.

“We hope that the conditions will be met, in particular the return of State authority, so that MONUSCO can complete its mission as soon as possible. And to leave room for other forms of international support.