Deadly cashes erupt during anti-UN protests in Congo’s Goma, leaving 7 dead
A demonstration against the UN peacekeeping mission and other foreign organizations escalated into violence, resulting in the loss of seven lives, as reported by Reuters. At least six protesters and one policeman were killed during the clashes in Goma, a city in eastern Congo, on Wednesday, according to statements from the Congolese army.
The unrest comes against the backdrop of mounting grievances towards the United Nations MONUSCO mission, which has been under fire since 2022 due to perceived failures in safeguarding civilians from militia violence that has plagued the region for years.
Although organizers had initially intended for the protest to be peaceful, disturbing visuals circulating on social media revealed individuals in civilian attire wielding sticks and stones, brutally assaulting a bound policeman. Despite the widespread dissemination of these visuals, Reuters was unable to independently verify their authenticity.
The Congolese army conveyed in an official statement that the violent confrontation led to the deaths of six protesters and the apprehension of 158 individuals involved in the unrest.
However, a source within the UN disputed this account, asserting that the death toll was, in fact, higher, reaching at least eight individuals. This tally included two soldiers and a policeman.
This incident is not an isolated occurrence; it follows a previous anti-MONUSCO protest that transpired in July 2022. That event resulted in more than 15 fatalities, including the deaths of three peacekeepers in both Goma and the city of Butembo.
The broader context of the region reveals a dire situation. Years of enduring rebel conflicts and recurrent natural disasters have exacerbated a humanitarian crisis in eastern Congo. Shockingly, the number of displaced individuals in Goma’s North Kivu province and neighboring provinces has surged to approximately 5.5 million, as reported by the United Nations.