Angry protesters storm UN mission base in Congo

Angry protesters storm UN mission base in Congo

Demonstrators vandalize UN Stabilization Mission in Goma, demanding withdrawal of troops as they are failing to bring peace

By Aurore Bonny

DOUALA, Cameroon (AA) – Angry demonstrators stormed a UN mission base in the eastern province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Monday, demanding that the 14,000 peacekeepers leave the country for failing to carry out their responsibilities, local media reported.

The UN Stabilization Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) base in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, was vandalized and looted during the protest against the UN presence, according to Le Phare de la RDC, a local online media outlet.

Protesters broke into the UN compound this morning despite a government warning, it said, adding that the mission’s Monusco headquarters in Goma had been vandalized.

Patrick Muyaya, a communications minister and government spokesman, said on Twitter that those responsible for "any form of attack on UN personnel and facilities" would be "prosecuted and severely punished."

Some people in the Central African country want the UN mission's 14,000 personnel to leave. They charge the mission with failing to bring peace to the country.

The process of withdrawing MONUSCO has already begun, according to the spokesman. Nonetheless, he said, the government will honor all of its commitments until the departure of troops is complete.

Taking to Twitter the European Union's mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo voiced its "complete support" for MONUSCO and its personnel.

"The legitimate demands for peace and security of the Congolese population must find a collective response through the commitment of all. The instrumentalization of anger only serves division," she said.

This situation comes a few days after a meeting in mid-July in which Modeste Bahati Lukwebo, president of the Congolese Senate, accused the international community of being "complicit" in the country's insecurity while encouraging people to "take up all kinds of arms" to defend themselves.

"We even ask ourselves the question of whether it is worth continuing to keep Monusco on our territory as 20,000 soldiers have been stationed there for 22 years, but there is no peace," Lukwebo said.

He also blamed the UN for refusing to lift the embargo on the Democratic Republic of the Congo's procurement of arms before the UN Security Council recently.

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