An ambush on a supply convoy carrying United Nations soldiers in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) resulted in the deaths of eight civilians, according to a military governor in the region. According to the governor of the North Kivu province, the soldiers were firing “warning bullets” during the violence that occurred on Tuesday, which also resulted in the wounding of 28 persons.
Assailants lit fire to four trucks when the United Nations convoy was on its way back from a resupply operation north of Goma, the capital of the province, according to the United Nations mission in the country, MONUSCO, which issued the statement on Wednesday. The assault took place in Kanyaruchinya, which is home to thousands of people who have been displaced from their homes.
It was reported by MONUSCO that three people had been killed as the peacekeepers, who were accompanied by Congolese military, “tried to safeguard the convoy.” According to a statement made by the governor’s spokesman on Wednesday, Lieutenant-General Constant Ndima, “The MONUSCO soldiers in command of security fired warning shots, which sadly caused the deaths of eight of our compatriots among the displaced and 28 wounded.” He stated that there would be an investigation into the matter.
MONUSCO, which has been stationed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since 1999, currently employs approximately 16,000 peacekeepers. The residents of the region accuse the government of not doing enough to combat the dozens of armed organizations that are active in the eastern part of the DRC, including the M23 rebels. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has leveled accusations of support for the M23 against Rwanda, which have been backed up by UN experts and western nations, despite Kigali’s denials of the allegations.
In the most recent months, there has been a rise in the number of protests directed towards the peacekeepers. In the month of July, demonstrators assaulted MONUSCO installations in the towns of Goma, Butembo, and Beni, among others, in an effort to get the peacekeepers to leave. According to the police, at least 36 individuals were murdered, including four soldiers from the United Nations.
A helicopter carrying South African peacekeepers was targeted with gunfire in North Kivu on Sunday, resulting in the death of one of the soldiers and the serious injury of another. Eight members of the peacekeeping force were murdered in March of this year when their helicopter went down close to a conflict between the Congolese army and the M23.
The mineral-rich eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been plagued by militias for decades, many of which are a remnant of regional wars that broke out in the 1990s and early 2000s.