Two BSF personnel killed in anti-UN protest in Congo

UN peacekeeping force labels attack as war crime

July 27, 2022 12:28 am | Updated 11:31 am IST

Residents protest against the United Nations peacekeeping force (MONUSCO) deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Goma Tuesday July 26, 2022.

Residents protest against the United Nations peacekeeping force (MONUSCO) deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Goma Tuesday July 26, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

Two Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, part of United Nations Peacekeeping contingent, were killed in violent armed protests in Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday, a BSF spokesperson said.

It was on Monday that locals had given a call for protest against MONUSCO, the French acronym for The United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Two BSF platoons deployed in Beni and Butembo were on high alert. 

While all was quiet on Monday, the situation turned violent in Butembo on Tuesday. “The camp of Morroco Rapid Deployment where BSF platoons are stationed was surrounded by demonstrators. Congolese Police (PNC) and Congolese Army (FARDC) arrived but could not control the crowd estimated to be over 500 people,” the official said. 

The crowd threw stones at the security forces. In an effort to control the situation, local police fired in the air while BSF personnel used tear gas to get the crowd to disperse. However, they managed to breach the camp’s perimeter wall at three different places.

“There were reports that armed rebels had infiltrated the demonstrators. The second attack was fiercer and was accompanied by fire from small arms (automatics). Morrocan and Indian troops fired in self-defence,” said the official.

In the ensuing violence, the two BSF personnel succumbed to fatal injuries.  The names of the deceased are being withheld till their families are informed. 

A press statement by MONUSCO said, “Attackers violently snatched weapons from elements of the National Police Congolese army and fired point-blank at our peacekeeping forces.”

It added that the attacks against its personnel, facilities and operations constitute war crimes subject to proceedings before international courts.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar tweeted, “Deeply grieved at the loss of lives of two valiant Indian peacekeepers of the BSF in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They were part of the MONUSCO.”

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