Three United Nations peacekeepers, including two Indian Border Security Force personnel, who were part of the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, were killed on Tuesday during violent protests, a spokesperson for the force said.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said he was deeply saddened by the loss of two brave Indian peacekeepers and demanded that the perpetrators of the “shocking attack” be held accountable and brought to justice.
Both soldiers were part of MONUSCO – the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
At least five people have been killed and around 50 injured during a second day of protests against the UN mission in the eastern Congo town of Goma, according to international media.
“On 26 July, two BSF personnel of the UN Peace Keeping Contingent (MONUSCO) deployed at Butembo, Democratic Republic of Congo succumbed to fatal injuries during the violent armed protests,” a spokesperson for the border force said.
Officials said around two platoons or around 70 to 74 BSF personnel have been deployed to the area which was inducted in May this year.
He said residents had called for demonstration and agitation against MONUSCO across Congo, and the situation in Goma had turned violent, with protesters looting and setting fire to UN property. Both Beni and Butembo (with two BSF platoons each deployed) were on high alert. Monday passed off peacefully, a senior officer said. However, today the situation in Butembo turned violent. The camp of Morroco Rapid Deployment Bn where BSF platoons are stationed was surrounded by demonstrators.
Congolese police (PNC) and Congolese army (FARDC) troops arrived but were unable to control the crowd of more than 500 people. BSF personnel and other security forces fired tear gas to disperse the crowd but the crowd managed to break through the perimeter wall in three different places.
“The crowd was repelled but they gathered again. There were reports that armed rebels had infiltrated the demonstrators,” the officer said.