Protesters have demanded the departure of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) which they accuse of failing to stop armed groups’ decades-old fighting.
Hundreds of people blocked roads and chanted anti-UN slogans before storming the headquarters of the UN peacekeeping mission in Goma, as well as a logistical base on the outskirts of the city.
At least 15 people have been killed on the second day of anti-United Nations protests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s turbulent north-eastern region.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the violence saying, "any attack directed against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime under international law."
The UN confirmed that "violent attackers snatched weapons from Congolese police" and fired on the UN personnel killing one peacekeeper and two international policemen and injuring another serving with the UN peacekeeping force at the UN base in Butembo in North Kivu province in the east.
The U.N. mission, which includes civilians, police, and military personnel, has around 12,400 troops in the country and costs more than $1 billion per year. It has been in the process of gradually withdrawing from the area for several years.
U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix is due to arrive in Congo's capital Kinshasa on Friday and will also visit Goma, Diagne said.
MONUSCO took over from an earlier U.N. operation in Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2010 with the aim of protecting civilians and supporting the government in its stabilization efforts as clashes between Congo's army and the M23 rebel group have displaced thousands.
The acting head of the United Nations mission in eastern Congo said Wednesday that it would carry out a joint investigation with national police into the shooting deaths of three peacekeepers and a dozen Congolese civilians during anti-U.N. protests this week.
“As I said yesterday to the national authorities, we do not have any evidence that MONUSCO troops were firing at civilians,” the deputy chief of the mission Khassim Diagne told reporters. The U.N. Security Council met late Tuesday at the request of India, who lost two peacekeepers in the violence, for a private briefing on the events.
The U.N. has warned that the M23 rebel group, which was defeated by the Congolese army and special MONUSCO forces in 2013, started to re-emerge in November of last year and is well armed and equipped.