DR Congo tightens security in east after anti-UN unrest

Soldiers and armed police were deployed to several cities in eastern DRC on Wednesday after 15 people, including three United Nations peacekeepers, were killed in anti-UN protests, AFP reporters said.

Crowds stormed a UN peacekeeping base and supply center in the city of Goma, North Kivu province on Monday, looting valuables and chanting hostile slogans.

The protests spread quickly and three UN peacekeepers were killed in an attack on their base in the city of Butembo on Tuesday.

Twelve demonstrators have died alongside the peacekeepers, according to the government.

The UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, known as MONUSCO, is one of the world’s largest peacekeeping operations.

But it has regularly come under criticism in troubled eastern Congo, where many accuse it of not doing enough to end decades of attacks by armed groups.

On Wednesday, AFP correspondents saw heightened security measures in the towns of Beni and Butembo and in Goma, the provincial capital.

Armed police and soldiers in jeeps patrolled Beni, and an expressway leading out of town to several MONUSCO bases was heavily guarded.

Relative calm had also returned to Goma, where shops reopened as security forces were stationed across the city.

In the town of Sake, some 30 kilometers from Goma, Congolese police fired tear gas to disperse protesters near a UN base surrounded by soldiers and police.

“We will protest until they leave,” said Jackson Kibuya, a sake protester, holding up a banner that read “Bye Bye MONUSCO.”

More than 120 armed groups roam the volatile region where civilian massacres are common and conflict has displaced millions.