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4 Sep, 2023 14:10

Death toll from anti-UN protests in DR Congo rises – media

The bodies of those shot have been recovered from bushes, bringing the death toll to 100, according to a coalition of youth organizations
Death toll from anti-UN protests in DR Congo rises – media

The number of people killed in anti-United Nations protests last week in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo has risen to 100, the Anadolu Agency reported on Monday, citing the head of a coalition of youth organizations in the country.

The toll increased after the bodies of those who were shot while allegedly fleeing from a church were recovered from the surrounding bushes, Lucas Pecos, the director of the Collective of Youth Solidarity Organizations in Congo-Kinshasa (COJESKI-RDC), told the Turkish outlet.

Pecos on Wednesday accused the Congolese army of carrying out a massacre, as part of efforts to suppress protests against the UN’s MONUSCO peacekeeping mission in the area, adding that 57 corpses had been documented at the Goma Provincial Hospital’s mortuary. 

We have also confirmed that there are 43 bodies of people killed in the church and its surroundings being kept at the Katinda military barracks mortuary, bringing the total to 100. The barracks is located a few kilometers from Goma,” he said.

Pecos also added that the protesters, who were part of a movement called Wazalendo and a church group called Messiahans, were preparing to attack a nearby MONUSCO base.

The Congolese government put the death toll at 43 on Thursday, with 56 injured. Another 158 people were arrested, the authorities said, accusing them of carrying out “actions that undermined public order.

The UN mission condemned the killings and urged Kinshasa to launch a “prompt” and “independent” investigation into the incident.

Locals have protested the presence of the UN mission in the East African country for years, claiming that it has failed to fulfill its mandate of protecting them from militia violence.

Last year, at least 15 people, including three peacekeepers, were killed in a similar protest against MONUSCO, as heavily armed UN troops clashed with hundreds of civilians wielding rocks and petrol bombs, vandalizing and torching the international mission’s buildings.

A Congolese military court sentenced 51 people to death in 2022 for their roles in the murder of two UN experts in the country.

On Thursday, the UN mission stated that it remains concerned about threats of violence and emphasized the “importance of peaceful resolution of disputes and conflicts through inclusive dialogue.