UN peacekeeper admits deadly shooting in DR Congo

Beni, DR Congo | AFP | UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres declared himself “outraged” at the death of two people after United Nations peacekeepers opened fire at a border crossing in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Sunday.

“Military from the Intervention Brigade of the Monusco force opened fire for unexplained reasons and forced the entry of the border post” with Uganda, explained the UN mission in DR Congo in a statement.

“A serious incident” over which the secretary general is “outraged”, according to a statement from Guterres’ deputy spokesman, Farhan Haq.

A video shared on social media showed several men, at least one in a police uniform and one in army dress, advancing towards the UN vehicle at the Kasindi checkpoint.

This town is located in the east of DR Congo, in the territory of Beni.

After a verbal exchange, the blue helmets appear to open fire, and cross the barrier with the Ugandan border with the vehicle.

The spokesman for the DR Congo government, Patrick Muyaya, said in a statement that the authorities “firmly condemn and regret the unfortunate incident in which two compatriots died and 15 others were injured, according to a provisional balance.”

Guterres also expressed “sadness and dismay” upon hearing the news of the shooting, and expressed “the need to establish responsibilities for these events,” according to the note released by his spokesmen.

The head of Monusco, Bintou Keita, said she was “deeply shocked and dismayed by this serious incident,” according to a statement from the mission.

“Faced with this unspeakable and irresponsible behavior, the authors of the shots were identified and detained, pending the conclusions of the investigation, which has already begun in collaboration with the Congolese authorities,” added this note.

Guterres welcomed the decision to detain the personnel involved in the incident, according to a statement from his spokesman.

tension in the area

Earlier this week, three blue helmets and more than a dozen people were killed during protests against the UN mission in several towns bordering Uganda.

The demonstrators criticize Monusco for its inability to stop the violence and attacks by hundreds of armed groups active in the east of the African country.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix was in the African country on Saturday to discuss the situation with authorities.

“They will study formulas so that we can both avoid these traffic incidents, and, above all, work better together to achieve our goals,” said Lacroix.

Present in the DRC since 1999, the Monuc (UN Mission in Congo), which became Monusco (UN Mission for Stabilization in the DRC) in 2010, currently has more than 14,000 blue helmets and a annual budget of 1,000 million dollars, about 987 million euros.

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