Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo fired live rounds on Thursday to disperse the groups of protesters that have been demanding the departure of the United Nations peacekeeping forces from the Congolese city of Beni.
“Young people have barricaded almost all the roads to ask the U.N. mission to leave this region plagued by massacre,” Beni mayor Buhindo Bakwanamaha Modeste said in a statement. “This morning the police are clearing the blocked roads, that’s why there is shooting all over the city.”
The demonstrators, mainly composed of youth activists from the rights group Lutte Pour Le Changement (LUCHA), have been holding demonstrations in several cities across the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since Monday.
The protesters have been expressing their anger at the peacekeeping forces of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) after failing to prevent the rampant massacre of innocent civilians by militant groups, as chaos continued to plague the region.
“MONUSCO must leave. Civilians are being killed in Beni [city] like sheep, while the peacekeepers do absolutely nothing. It remains a mission just to justify salaries and unnecessary budget,” said David Kambale, one of the protesters, said in an interview.
A witness claimed that sounds of heavy gunfire started at around seven in the morning and continued for about three hours.