Eight civilians have been killed and 28 injured after protesters in east DR Congo's North Kivu province blocked a convoy of the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monusco) on Tuesday evening in Munigi, about 10 kilometres from Goma.
The protestors then set upon the UN peacekeepers, resulting in clashes, the provincial government said on Wednesday.
Monusco said the civilians died during a “violent attack” on the its convoy that was heading to Goma, and which was accompanied by Congolese soldiers.
The UN mission said the convoy “was attacked by demonstrators who had previously barricaded the road with large stones, forcing the convoy to stop”. The statement added that the assailants set fire on four trucks of the convoy and looted the cargo.
Monusco said the civilians died “while peacekeepers and FARDC (Congolese army) tried to protect the convoy”.
The UN Mission did not say exactly how the civilians died but said that an investigation will determine the circumstances of the deaths.
In July 2022, clashes between civilians and Monusco in three towns in eastern DRC resulted in the deaths of 36 people, including four peacekeeping personnel. On July 31, 2022, peacekeepers fired on civilians, killing three and injuring 15 on the DRC-Uganda border.
The city of Goma recently experienced two days of protest marches and even some looting, but on Wednesday morning, some activities resumed.
Anger over regional force
The protesters expressed their anger at the "passivity" of the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) which was deployed in Goma since November 2022 with the aim of helping remove armed groups from North Kivu and Ituri and also to help stop the advances of the M23 rebels.
In Goma, demonstrators demanded that EACRF troops "go and fight on the frontlines or leave the DRC".
Following the protests, the Congolese government urged the angry people of North Kivu to calm down.
"The government understands the frustration of the people of Goma, but we must avoid falling into the enemy's trap. The Luanda roadmap is the only plan for the return of peace," said government spokesman Patrick Muyaya.