15 killed in protests targeting UN peacekeeping mission in DR Congo

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The Democratic Republic of the Congo has said that at least 15 people, including one peacekeeper and two United Nations police officers, were killed and 50 others injured during protests targeting the UN peacekeeping mission since Monday in the northeastern province of North Kivu.

During a joint press briefing late Tuesday, government spokesman Patrick Muyaya, alongside Khassim Diagne, the acting head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the country (MONUSCO), said authorities have arrested several protesters. An investigation is underway.

The spokesman called for calm and pledged to take all possible measures to ensure the security of MONUSCO personnel and its property.

“Nothing justifies violence against blue helmets,” Xinhua new agency reported quoting the spokesman as saying.

“Those responsible will be brought to justice,” the spokesman added.

Diagne called for efforts to de-escalate tensions. “Nothing can be resolved in tensions. We must initiate a new phase to find the solution,” he added.

UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters that hundreds of protesters had attacked the mission’s base in the city of Goma and other parts of North Kivu province.

“Mobs are throwing stones and petrol bombs, breaking into bases, looting and vandalizing, and setting facilities on fire,” Haq added.

MONUSCO took over from an earlier UN peacekeeping operation, the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on July 1, 2010.

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