DR Congo arrests officers after scores killed by military at anti-UN rally

People arrested during the military operation in Goma, DR Congo on August 30, 2023. (Photo/AFP)

DR Congo announced the arrest of military officers after nearly 50 people were killed in a crackdown on an anti-UN protest in the east of the country.

Congolese soldiers last Wednesday stopped a religious sect from holding a demonstration against United Nations peacekeepers in the city of Goma.

An internal army document consulted by the AFP news agency and verified by security officials gave a death toll of 48 civilians killed –– in addition to a policeman slain by the protesters.

The Democratic Republic of Congo's government said the day after the incident that 43 people had been killed and 56 wounded.

Early on Monday, Congolese Interior Minister Peter Kazadi announced that a commander of a Republican Guard brigade as well as a regiment commander had been arrested.

"They have been detained and a trial will be organised in the coming hours to establish who was responsible," he told reporters in Goma.

Kazadi travelled to the eastern city in the aftermath of the crackdown to investigate the incident, alongside the Congolese defence minister Jean-Pierre Bemba.

"We interviewed all the military security officials in the city," Kazadi said. "Some military officials were immediately referred to the military prosecutor's office."

"We are asking the population to remain calm, to trust the government and our justice system, which will soon reach a verdict," the interior minister added.

Militias have wreaked havoc in eastern DRC for three decades, a legacy of regional wars that flared in the 1990s and 2000s.

The UN peacekeeping mission in the region is one of the largest and costliest in the world, with an annual budget of about $1 billion (915,000,000 euros).

But the UN comes in for sharp criticism in the central African nation, where many people perceive the peacekeepers as failing to prevent conflict.

Last year, dozens of people were killed in anti-UN protests across eastern DRC.


Source: TRT