UN: Attacks On Congo Peacekeepers A War Crime

UN Secretary General António Guterres says the attack on UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo may be a war crime, according to a UN spokesperson. 

“He underscores that any attack directed against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime and calls upon the Congolese authorities to investigate these incidents and swiftly bring those responsible to justice,” deputy UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said in a statement.

Three United Nations peacekeepers and at least 12 demonstrators have been killed in escalating anti-UN protests in eastern DR Congo, officials said on Tuesday.

Anger has been fuelled by perceptions that MONUSCO, the UNmission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is failing to do enough to stop attacks by armed groups.

Crowds on Monday stormed a MONUSCO headquarters and supply base in Goma, the chief city in North Kivu province, and the protests spread on Tuesday to Beni and Butembo to the north.

Butembo police chief Colonel Paul Ngoma said three peacekeepers there — two Indians and a Moroccan — had been killed and another injured, while seven demonstrators had died and several others were wounded.

Earlier, government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said on Twitter that “at least five people (were) dead, about 50 wounded” in Goma.

The security forces had fired “warning shots” at protesters to stop attacks on UN personnel, he said.

MONUSCO is one of the world’s biggest peacekeeping operations.