DR Congo: Guterres ‘outraged’ over peacekeepers’ aggression, calls for accountability
Secretary-General António Guterres is “outraged” over a “serious incident” that took place on Sunday morning on the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda, according to his deputy spokesperson.
In Kasindi, North Kivu province, military personnel of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) opened fire while returning from leave in their home country.
News reports said that the UN peacekeepers killed two people and injured several others.
.@antonioguterres is outraged by a serious incident that took place this morning in Kasindi, on the border of the DR Congo and Uganda, in which @MONUSCO military personnel opened fire while returning to the DRC from leave in their home country. https://t.co/CS35CaJ40DUN_Spokesperson
“The Secretary-General is both saddened and dismayed by the loss of life and serious injuries sustained during this incident,” the statement issued by Farhan Haq said.
Mr. Guterres also offered his deepest condolences to the affected families, the nation’s people and the Congolese Government and wished the injured a speedy recovery.
In a communique, the Special Representative and Head of MONUSCO, Bintou Keita, said that soldiers of the Intervention Brigade of the MONUSCO force opened fire at the border post for “unexplained reasons”.
“This serious incident has caused loss of life and serious injuries,” she added.
“Deeply shocked and dismayed,” Ms. Keita also extended her deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
Meanwhile, the Secretary-General stressed in the strongest terms, the need to “establish accountability for these events”.
The UN has established contact with the peacekeepers’ country of origin, with the aim of “urgently initiating judicial proceedings with the participation of victims and witnesses so that appropriate sanctions can be handed down”.
Describing the soldiers’ behaviour as “unspeakable and irresponsible,” the MONUSCO chief said that perpetrators the were identified and arrested – pending the conclusions of an investigation that has already started in collaboration with the Congolese authorities.
The Secretary-General welcomed her decision to detain the MONUSCO peacekeepers involved and to immediately open an investigation.