Two people have been killed and several others injured after UN peacekeepers opened fire during an incident in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on the border with Uganda on Sunday, the UN said.
Video of the incident, shared on social media, showed men, at least one in police uniform and another in army uniform, heading for the immobilized UN convoy behind a closed barrier in Kasindi. The city is located in the eastern Beni region of the DR Congo, on the border with Uganda.
After a verbal exchange, the peacekeepers appeared to open fire before opening the gate, drove on and continued firing as people dispersed or hid.
“During this incident, soldiers of the MONUSCO intervention brigade returning from leave for unexplained reasons opened fire on the border post and penetrated it,” the UN mission in Kasindi said in a statement. “This serious incident caused loss of life and serious injuries.”
Barthelemy Kambale Siva, the representative of the governor of North Kivu in Kasindi, previously said that “eight people, including two police officers working on the barrier, were seriously injured” in the incident.
Kambale Siva, interviewed by AFP, gave no reason why the UN convoy could not pass the barrier.
More than 120 militias are active in the troubled eastern DRC. The UN first sent an observer mission to the region in 1999.
In 2010, it became the peacekeeping mission MONUSCO – the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo – with a mandate to conduct offensive operations.
According to the UN, 230 have been killed among them.
Last week deadly demonstrations took place in several cities in eastern DRC demanding the departure of the United Nations.
A total of 19 people were killed, including three peacekeepers.
The anger has been fueled by the perception that MONUSCO is not doing enough to stop the armed groups’ attacks.
UN Undersecretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix was in the Central African country on Saturday to “talk to Congolese authorities,” he said.
“(They would) explore ways in which we can both prevent a recurrence of these tragic incidents and, most importantly, work better together to achieve our goals,” he said.
“We hope that the conditions are met, especially the return of state authority, so that MONUSCO can complete its mission as quickly as possible. And to leave room for other forms of international support.”