Ten killed in inter-communal violence amid protests in eastern DR Congo

Moroccan peacekeepers from MONUSCO (The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) are stuck in the mud on the outskirts of Jina village, in the Djugu Region, on September 14, 2020. - In northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, in the Djugu region, Ituri Province, Jina and surrounding villages have been repeatedly attacked. Since the end of 2017, the conflict in Ituri has resulted in several hundred deaths and more than one and a half million displaced persons. Most of the massacres are attributed to armed militias belonging to the Lendu community and claiming to defend themselves against the Congolese army and the Hema community. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP) (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP via Getty Images)
File Photo: Moroccan peacekeepers from MONUSCO (The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP) (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP via Getty Images)

Ten people have been killed and 34 injured in fighting between rival ethnic communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern city of Goma, a spokesman for the provincial government said on Tuesday.

The clashes broke out when protests against the U.N.’s MONUSCO peacekeeping mission, which some blame for failing to end to worsening insecurity and militia attacks, descended into violence between the two communities.

Attacks by armed militias and inter-communal violence in Congo’s restive eastern region have killed over 300 people since the start of the year as government troops and U.N. peacekeepers struggle to bring stability in the mineral-rich region.

The governor of North Kivu province, Carly Nzanzu Kasivita, banned all public protests from Monday and called for calm.

“From now on we no longer want public demonstrations in the city of Goma because many people take up arms,” said Nzanzu on a visit on Monday to Buhene, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Goma where the ethnic clashes began.

Fighting between the Nande and Kumu communities was sparked by the killing of two moto-taxi drivers on Sunday, for which one group blamed the other. A number of houses were also burned down, the provincial government said.

Protests erupted against the 12,000-strong U.N. mission in several eastern cities last week.

Demonstrators said they were frustrated at the failure of efforts to stop rising violence around the city of Beni, which officials blame on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan Islamist group that has operated on Congolese soil for decades.

The ADF stepped up deadly raids on villages in retaliation for army operations against it which launched in late 2019.