Kinshasa says 36 people were killed – including three who were killed when the UN opened fire on civilians – last week during demonstrations in the country's east.

The UN force in Congo, known as MONUSCO, has about 16,000 uniformed personnel but has not succeeded in stabilising the country's volatile east.
The UN force in Congo, known as MONUSCO, has about 16,000 uniformed personnel but has not succeeded in stabilising the country's volatile east. (Arlette Bashizi / Reuters)

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has said that it will re-evaluate the withdrawal plan of the United Nations peacekeeping mission after deadly anti-UN protests last week, suggesting it may ask the force to leave sooner than expected.

President Felix Tshisekedi chaired a crisis meeting on Tuesday as demonstrations escalated after UN peacekeepers opened fire on civilians, killing three, in Kasindi, an eastern border post with Uganda.

Including numbers of deaths from other towns, the government said that 36 people, including four UN peacekeepers, were killed last week. 

Around 170 people were wounded, the government commission sent to assess the aftermath of the protests added.

Protesters accuse the mission of failing to protect civilians against militia groups that have wreaked havoc in the region for decades.

Total disapproval

At the crisis meeting, Congo's president said that he spoke with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who expressed deep condolences after the killings at the Kasindi post, according to the statement.

Tshisekedi said shared his total disapproval of the behaviour of the UN peacekeepers and told the secretary-general that those guilty of the violence must be severely punished. Guterres had called for justice over the weekend.

READ MORE: Protesters in DR Congo demand UN peacekeepers departure

The UN peacekeeping mission, known as MONUSCO, said on Tuesday that it supports the government's decision, and is also ready to reassess its withdrawal plan, which currently has it staying for at least two more years.

The United Nations has condemned the violence and vowed to investigate alleged abuses on both sides together with Congolese authorities.

MONUSCO, which took over from an earlier UN operation in 2010, had more than 12,000 troops and 1,600 police deployed in Congo as of November 2021, according to its website.

READ MORE: DRC launches probe after UN peacekeepers kill civilians in shootout

Source: TRTWorld and agencies