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UN force admits fatal shooting at DR Congo border post

#force #admits #fatal #shooting #Congo #border #post

UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was “outraged” after two people were killed and several others injured when UN peacekeepers opened fire in an incident in eastern DRC along the border with Uganda on Sunday.

UN force MONUSCO admitted that some of its peacekeepers had opened fire “for reasons unknown”, adding that arrests had already been made.

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

“The Secretary-General strongly emphasizes the need to account for these events.

“He welcomes the decision of his Special Representative in the DRC to arrest the MONUSCO personnel involved in the incident and to launch an immediate investigation,” he added.

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

The city is located in the Beni Territory of eastern DR Congo on the border with Uganda.

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

“During this incident, soldiers from the intervention brigade of the MONUSCO force, returning from vacation, for unknown reasons opened fire on the border post and forced their way through,” the UN mission in Kasindi said in a statement earlier Sunday.

“This serious incident has caused human life and serious injuries.”

The DRC “condemns and strongly regrets this unfortunate incident in which two compatriots were killed and 15 others injured, according to a preliminary list,” government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said in a statement.

– “Shocked and Dismayed” –

The government said it had opened an investigation with MONUSCO to determine who was responsible for why the shooting took place and to ensure “heavy penalties” were imposed.

UN envoy to the DRC Bintou Keita said she was “deeply shocked and dismayed by this grave incident,” the mission’s statement said.

“In the face of this unspeakable and irresponsible behavior, the perpetrators of the shooting have been identified and arrested pending the completion of the investigation, which has already begun in cooperation with the Congolese authorities,” MONUSCO said.

The UN mission said the home countries of the troops had been contacted to take immediate legal action, involving witnesses and survivors, which could result in exemplary sentences.

– Deadly Region –

Earlier, Barthelemy Kambale Siva, the North Kivu Governor’s representative in Kasindi, said that “eight people, including two police officers, working at the cordon were seriously injured in the incident”.

Kambale Siva, interviewed by AFP, did not say why the UN convoy was prevented from crossing.

More than 120 militias are deployed in the troubled east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 1999, the UN sent an observer mission to the region for the first time.

In 2010, this became the peacekeeping mission MONUSCO – the stabilization mission of the United Nations Organization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – with a mandate to conduct offensive operations.

According to the United Nations, there were 230 fatalities among the force.

– Call for withdrawal of UN troops –

Last week deadly demonstrations took place in several cities in eastern DRC demanding the withdrawal of the United Nations.

A total of 19 people, including three peacekeepers, were killed.

Anger was fueled by the perception that MONUSCO was not doing enough to stop the attacks by the 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) explore 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.”

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