DRC protests against UN turn deadly
Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Protests in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) against the United Nations (UN) have turned deadly. Individuals in the eastern areas of the DRC in places including Beni, Goma, and Butembo protested against UN forces being in the country. Therefore, a fresh dimension to the endless crisis in the province of North Kivu – and the surrounding environs – erupted.
In other nations, for example, Haiti’s ever-lasting presence of UN agencies resulted in a cholera epidemic, the abuse of women, and endless criminality. Haiti and the DRC have gained little from the presence of various UN agencies. Hence, vented anger at the situation in the DRC erupted into anti-UN violence aimed at MONUSCO (U.N. Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo).
The DRC is blighted by a plethora of different terrorist and insurgency groups. This notably concerns the eastern areas of the DRC. From the Islamist ADF (Islamist Allied Democratic Forces) that originated in Uganda – to the M23 that is reawakening once more. Therefore, some of the protesters will be genuinely anti-UN because of past failures and the ensuing bloodshed that continues unabated: however, the fear is that some M23 members are also agitating.
Farhan Haq, the UN spokesperson, said, “At the MONUSCO Butembo base today, violent attackers snatched weapons from Congolese police and fired upon our uniformed personnel.”
In Goma, angry protesters also attacked another UN agency. Haq uttered, “Hundreds of assailants have again attacked our bases in Goma as well as other parts of North Kivu province, fueled by hostile remarks and threats made by individuals and groups against the U.N., particularly on social media… Mobs are throwing stones and petrol bombs, breaking into bases, looting and vandalizing, and setting facilities on fire.”
A local person told France 24, “For more than 20 years MONUSCO has been in the country and it has done nothing – MONUSCO had done nothing for our country!”
Another person said, “We, the population, are warning MONUSCO to leave our country. We have noticed that since they have been here there has never been peace. That is why we say that we are tired of this MONUSCO.”
The Guardian reports, “At least 15 people were killed and about 50 wounded during a second day of violent anti-United Nations protests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern cities of Goma and Butembo, authorities have said.”
Deaths include demonstrators and members of the UN. The death toll will probably increase further with tensions being so high.
Voice of America reports, “MONUSCO is one of the U.N.’s largest peacekeeping operations, with more than 16,000 uniformed personnel in the DRC’s east. The U.N. has warned that the M23 rebel group, which was defeated by the Congolese army and special MONUSCO forces in 2013, had started to re-emerge in November 2021 and is well-armed and equipped.”
The provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, and South Kivu are the worst-hit areas concerning terrorism, ethnic massacres, external intrigues, and various insurgencies.
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