Shots Fired At DR Congo Protest Against Regional Force – Reports

Police in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have reportedly fired tear gas and live bullets at people protesting against the presence of regional troops.

The East Africa regional force – composed of soldiers from Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, and Burundi – was deployed in November 2022 to enforce peace if that part of the country.

But activists have accused it of inaction and called for protests on Wednesday in the provincial capital, Goma.

Local reports say tear gas and live bullets were fired at the protesters. At least two journalists were hit by what are believed to be tear gas cannisters, but they survived without injuries.

Two other journalists have been taken into police custody.

On Tuesday, the mayor of Goma had banned the protests and said that only representatives of the activists would be allowed to drop a petition at his office.

The regional force has appeared to be making progress. One of the major armed groups operating in the region, the M23, has already handed over previously seized territories, in line with an agreement reached by heads of state at a summit last year in the Angolan capital, Luanda.

But speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday, DR Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi said the M23 rebels had not withdrawn from those areas, but were moving around and redeploying.

President Tshisekedi insists the M23 rebels are supported by neighbouring Rwanda, an accusation Kigali has continued to deny.

People in the resource-rich North Kivu province have lived through armed conflict for decades.