Anti-MONUSCO Sentiment Grow as UN Envoy Visit Beni, DRC

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Protesters in the Democratic Republic of the Congo stormed UN facilities in the town of Beni on Monday, angered by the failure to stop an armed group that killed eight civilians. Residents of Beni say the UN MONUSCO mission is doing nothing to protect them from rebel attacks after eight people were killed and nine people kidnapped overnight by Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels .

A tense atmosphere remains in and around Beni and on Saturday, a mob lynched two people suspected of being Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels. “They did not have identity cards and when we searched their luggage, we found ammunition, military uniforms and magazines,” a witness, Fabrice Muhindo, told AFP.

Police said protesters burned the mayor’s office in response to the overnight attack. A tweet by the police force showed flames shooting from the window and thick black smoke billowing above.

Smoke from the United Nations compound rises in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo,

Aid workers also joint the protesters in denouncing MONUSCO. “At the moment, the security and UN forces are utterly failing in their obligation to protect people living in Beni” and elsewhere in Congo,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s deputy director for East Africa, in a statement.

“Residents are demanding the withdrawal of MONUSCO from Beni because of the inaction of UN forces,” said Teddy Kataliko, a civil society leader in Beni.

The UN’s chief of peace operations, General Jean-Pierre Lacroix visited the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday and briefly with the head of the Congolese army. He pleaded with the population for cooperation stating that “We are on the side of the people of this region, the Congolese people,”

In response to the accusations of inaction, MUNOSCO said its troops cannot deploy without Kinshasa’s permission or coordination with the national army.

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