The top United Nations official in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today urged demonstrators to use peaceful means to express themselves after protestors stoned several UN vehicles, injuring at least one peacekeeper and four local civilians.
According to the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, known by its French acronym MONUSCO, demonstrators in the north-eastern town of Bunia stoned several UN cars early this morning.
“This kind of assault on civilians and on our staff is not acceptable, whatever the reason,” said mission chief Martin Kobler, adding well wishes to all people injured.
During the incidents, a peacekeeper lost control of his car and received serious head injuries, MONUSCO reported.
The local National Congolese Police (PNC) “quickly intervened and are controlling the situation on the ground in cooperation with UNPOL [UN Police],” according to information from MONUSCO.
The DRC has been torn apart by civil wars and factional fighting since it became independent in 1960, but with the support of a series of UN missions a measure of stability has been restored to much of the vast country over the past decade. Fighting between the Government and a variety of rebel and sectarian groups has continued to devastate the eastern regions, particularly North and South Kivu provinces.
In March, the UN Security Council authorized the deployment of an intervention brigade within MONUSCO to carry out targeted offensive operations, with or without the Congolese national army, against armed groups that threaten peace in eastern DRC.