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UN Calls For Independent Probe In DRC Protest Deaths

United Nations


UN Calls For Independent Probe In DRC Protest Deaths

It has faced local criticism, with many people claiming it is insufficiently proactive in preventing conflicts.

The United Nations on Friday, issued a demand for an “unbiased” investigation following the loss of numerous lives during a crackdown on an anti-UN protest in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

UN spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani, from the Office of Human Rights, emphasized the necessity for an inquiry, stating, “An investigation must be conducted, and those responsible must be held accountable.” Speaking to reporters in Geneva, she continued to assert that the UN is in contact with DRC authorities to ensure the investigation they have initiated is “independent, effective and that measures are implemented to ensure that future demonstrations are managed in accordance with international human rights principles.”

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On Wednesday, soldiers prevented a religious sect in Goma from organizing a protest against UN peacekeepers.

According to the assessment made by the Office of Human Rights, at least 43 people lost their lives, including one police officer, and 56 others were wounded, although Shamdasani noted that the actual casualty count might be higher.

A military document obtained by AFP on Thursday and confirmed by security officials reported 48 fatalities, in addition to the slain police officer, and 75 injured people.

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The document also disclosed the detention of 168 individuals, including the leader of the sect, a Christian-animist group referred to as the “Natural Judaic and Messianic Faith Towards the Nations.”

Shamdasani reported that at least 222 people, including women and children, were reportedly apprehended, and she cautioned about the elevated risk of human rights violations in such a highly charged environment.

For three decades, eastern DRC has been plagued by militia violence, stemming from the aftermath of regional conflicts in the 1990s and 2000s. The UN peacekeeping mission in the area, known as MONUSCO, is one of the largest and most expensive globally, with an annual budget of approximately $1 billion.

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However, it has faced local criticism, with many people claiming it is insufficiently proactive in preventing conflicts.

Last year, a series of anti-UN protests resulted in numerous casualties, including four peacekeepers. The recent outbreak of violence coincides with ongoing discussions regarding the timing of the force’s withdrawal from the country.

Buhari Olanrewaju Ahmed, a seasoned investigative journalist and climate/environmental reporter with a decade of experience, unravels complex issues and amplifies critical voices. His in-depth investigative work and insightful reporting have earned him recognition as a trusted source of information. Ahmed's unwavering commitment to journalism and exceptional storytelling prowess make him a standout figure in investigative journalism. His work drives meaningful conversations, influences policy decisions, and inspires collective efforts toward a sustainable future.

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