Kinshasa, Sep 1 (EFE).- At least 43 people were killed and 56 injured in protests against the UN peacekeeping mission this week in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the government has said.
The protesters were killed on Wednesday after security forces raided a gathering of a religious sect protesting against the presence of the UN peacekeeping mission, known as MONUSCO, in Goma, the capital city of North Kivu province.
Initially, provincial authorities put the death toll at seven.
The protesters accuse the UN forces of failing to maintain peace and protect civilians from militant groups operating in the area.
“The protesters carried out actions that disrupted public order, including the stoning of a police officer to death, which prompted the intervention of the security forces to restore tranquility and serenity in the city,” an official press statement said.
“The government of the DRC offers its condolences to the families of the victims and expresses its compassion to the injured.”
Authorities have opened an investigation into the incident to ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.
Security forces have detained 158 people, including Ephraim Bisimwa, the leader of the religious sect, known as “Natural Judaic and Messianic Faith towards the Nations.”
The Congolese people accuse the UN peacekeeping force, in the country for over two decades, of failing to maintain peace, and safeguard civilians from more than one hundred armed groups operating in the region.
In June 2022, during similar protests, violent demonstrators attacked and looted several UN facilities, resulting in the deaths of 33 people, including four UN peacekeepers.
Eastern DR Congo continues to grapple with armed conflicts between the army and various militant factions, despite the presence of more than 16,000 peacekeeping troops in the region. EFE