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The armored vehicle is stationary behind a barrier at the Kasindi border post between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is marked “UN”. Facing him, Congolese police and soldiers and a crowd of civilians. A detonation rings out, followed by a dozen others. The soldiers pass in force, causing at least two deaths, Sunday, July 31, in the ranks of the demonstrators.
In a press release published on Wednesday August 3, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Monusco) acknowledged “a serious incident” occurred the day before and confirmed that men, “back from leave”, had “opened fire at the border crossing for unexplained reasons”. Those responsible have been arrested. A sanction which will not be enough to extinguish the anger of the inhabitants, who reproach the peacekeepers present in the region for their ineffectiveness in the face of the hundred armed groups present in the region.
A few days before the” incident ” several UN bases had been attacked and looted during violent demonstrations in Goma, Butembo and Uvira, in the Congolese provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu. Official report according to Kinshasa: 36 dead, including four Monusco soldiers.
“A terrible symbol”
While calling on the population to calm down, the Congolese authorities immediately announced their intention to “reevaluate” the timetable for the withdrawal of the UN force. A transition plan signed in September 2021 provided for a phased departure leading to its complete withdrawal by 2024. It could be brought forward. “Monusco cannot stay in the DRC indefinitely and today, trust is broken”estimated the Minister of Communication, Patrick Muyaya, during a press conference held on 2 August.
In a letter dated July 28, the Congolese foreign ministry also requested the departure of the mission’s spokesman, Mathias Gillmann, ” a.s.a.p “. Kinshasa criticizes him in particular for an interview given to Radio France internationale (RFI) in which he estimated that Monusco, 12,000 strong, did not have sufficient military resources to deal with the rebels of the March 23 Movement (M23). An incomprehensible admission of impotence for the Congolese.
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