Anti-U.N. Protests Flare In East Congo

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12 civilians were killed during the second day of anti-U.N. protests in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday.

Complaints spurred the protests that the U.N. mission, known as MONUSCO, has failed to protect civilians against militia violence which has raged for years.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the violence, deputy U.N. spokesperson Farhan Haq said in a statement, adding, “He underscores that any attack directed against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime and calls upon the Congolese authorities to investigate these incidents and swiftly bring those responsible to justice.

Demonstrations began on Monday in the city of Goma and spread on Tuesday to Butembo, where a U.N. soldier and two U.N. police with the mission were shot dead, Haq told reporters in New York.

In both cities U.N. peacekeeping troops were accused of retaliating with force as hundreds of protesters threw rocks and petrol bombs, vandalized, and set fire to U.N. buildings.

A Reuters reporter saw U.N. peacekeepers shoot dead two protesters in Goma, where government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said at least five people were killed and 50 wounded.

In Butembo at least seven civilians were killed and an unknown number wounded, said the city’s police chief Paul Ngoma.

Accusations of abuse for years have beset U.N. peacekeeping missions.

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