UN launches investigation into why peacekeepers opened fire on DR Congo border post

An image of the blue helmets worn by various UN peacekeepers throughout the world. /iStock photos

UN peacekeepers involved in a shooting on Sunday on the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda have been arrested and the UN Organization Stabilizing Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) is launching an investigation into the incident.

MONUSCO added that contact with the peacekeepers’ country of origin had been made to urgently begin judicial proceedings so that “appropriate sanctions” can be handed down to those found culpable.

MONUSCO did admit the peacekeepers, who were returning from leave, shot at the border post in Kasindi for “unexplained reasons and forced their way through.”

According to the Congolese government, at least two people were killed and at least 15 others were injured.

The head of MONUSCO, Bintou Keita, said she was deeply shocked and dismayed by the “unspeakable and irresponsible” behavior of the peacekeepers and sent her condolences to the families of the victims.

“This serious incident caused loss of life and serious injuries,” Keita said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also offered his condolences to the affected families and welcomed Keita’s decision to  detain  the MONUSCO peacekeepers involved.

He also demanded action from the relevant authorities to establish accountability for those events.

Several towns in the eastern part of DR Congo have recently experienced protests by civilians demanding MONUSCO leave the country for allegedly failing to stop attacks by armed groups in the region.

(Story compiled with assistance from wire reports)