Armed ViolenceNews

Kiwanja Residents Protest Redeployment Of DRC MONUSCO Forces To Area

The UN peacekeeping troops were evacuated from Butembo in Eastern DR Congo after similar protests, which turned violent.

There was renewed tension in Kiwanja, a community 75km from Goma in DRC’s Rutshuru territory, on the morning of Friday, Aug. 26, as residents protested the redeployment of UN peacekeeping forces from Butembo to Kiwanja.

The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has come under recent attack in the eastern part of DRC as locals accuse it of failing to address the raging security crisis.

“Barricades have been mounted in several parts of the number two national highway. Socio-economic activities have been paralysed. Police and soldiers have been using warning shots to disperse the protesters,” a civil society activist calling from Butembo told HumAngle.

“Last night, MONUSCO vehicles from the north of the province came under projectile attacks by youths calling for the departure of their forces from Congolese territory. Traffic between Kiwanja and Goma has been stopped. All vehicles from the northern part of North Kivu have been blocked at barriers in Kitoboko and Kiwanja. Farmers who were on their way to their farms have been forced to return to their homes.”

A few days ago, the Congolese authorities confirmed the departure of MONUSCO forces from Butembo and UN officials said the forces would be redeployed to other areas, including Kiwanja, following violent anti-UN protests in Butembo.

Meanwhile, a soldier of the 3206th regiment based in Komanda yesterday, Aug. 25, shot dead another soldier and his wife and wounded three other persons, including his own wife.

According to Gili Gotabo, president of the civil society in Irumu, it started from a dispute over a woman. 

“Everybody was shocked when the soldier pulled out his gun and shot at point blank range on people at the scene before turning the gun on himself and pulling the trigger,” he said.

“All the wounded persons are women who have been evacuated to the Komanda reference hospital.”

A military team is already in Komanda to investigate the events leading to the killing. At the same time, there is general panic in the town and key activities have momentarily ground to a halt.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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