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Three protesters killed in attack on UN convoy in DR Congo

Three protesters killed in attack on UN convoy in DR Congo
Demonstrators gather before attacking a cafe allegedly run by Rwandophone Banyamulenge, during a demonstration against the East Africa Community Regional Force in Goma   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

At least three demonstrators were killed Tuesday in an attack on a UN convoy in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Nations mission in the country said in a statement.

Militias have plagued the mineral-rich eastern DRC for decades, many of them a legacy of regional wars that flared during the 1990s and early 2000s.

The UN convoy was returning from a resupply mission north of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, when assailants set four trucks on fire, the statement from MONUSCO said.

"Three people unfortunately lost their lives during the attack," as the peacekeepers, accompanied by Congolese soldiers, "tried to protect the convoy," the statement said.

Jean-Claude Mambo Kawaya, a civil society leader in Nyiragongo territory, where the attack took place, said it had occurred near Kanyaruchinya, where thousands of displaced people live.

After vehicles were set on fire, the crowd tried to break into a container containing weapons and the peacekeepers opened fire, killing five people, he said.

"The population and displaced persons attacked a MONUSCO convoy," said Colonel Patrick Iduma, the territory's administrator, without giving further details of the toll.

The M23 rebel group has seized chunks of territory since its resurgence in November 2021 despite a peace roadmap hammered out in Angola last July and the deployment of an East African Community force in November.

Rwanda has been accused by the DRC of supporting the M23, a charge corroborated by UN experts and Western countries, although Kigali has denied the accusations.

MONUSCO regularly faces criticism that it has failed to stop the conflict, and demonstrations against the peacekeepers have grown in recent months.

In July, protesters stormed MONUSCO facilities in Goma, Butembo, Beni and other towns to demand the peacekeepers' departure. At least 36 people were killed, including four peacekeepers, according to authorities.

East African leaders called Saturday for an immediate ceasefire in eastern DRC at an extraordinary summit called to find ways of calming the raging conflict.

The talks were hosted in Burundi by the seven-nation East African Community, which is leading mediation efforts to end the fighting in the vast central African nation.

A South African peacekeeper was killed and another seriously wounded on Sunday when their helicopter was shot at in North Kivu.

Last March, eight peacekeepers were killed when their helicopter crashed near a battle between the Congolese army and the M23.

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