DR Congo orders MONUSCO spokesperson to leave the country

The Democratic Republic of Congo has asked the spokesman of the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the country (MONUSCO) to leave.

The government blames Mathias Gilmann for stoking tensions that led to deadly protests in eastern DR Congo in late July.

Soldiers of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s armed forces try to control a crowd of protesters storming a base of the UN peacekeeping operation MONUSCO, in Goma, on July 26, 2022.PHOTOS/ AFP

Those protests led to the death of 36 people including four UN peacekeepers.

The government said Gillmann, had made “indelicate and inappropriate” statements which contributed to the tensions between the population and MONUSCO.

“The Congolese government considers that the presence of this official on the national territory is not likely to promote a climate of mutual trust and calm between Congolese institutions and MONUSCO,” said a statement from the foreign affairs ministry dated July 28 and seen by several media outlets on Wednesday.

“The government would very much appreciate that action be taken for Mr. Mathias Gillmann to leave Congolese territory as soon as possible.”

Gillmann and MONUSCO’s deputy spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Anger has been fuelled by perceptions that MONUSCO is failing to do enough to stop decades of armed conflict in the region.

The Congolese government also said this week that it would reassess the mission’s withdrawal plan in light of the protests, a decision that MONUSCO said it supported.

The mission is due to withdraw by 2024 according to a plan drawn up last year, but the government aims to speed up its departure, said foreign affairs minister Christophe Lutundula.

It is one of the costliest peacekeeping missions in the world with an annual budget of around 1 billion U.S. dollars.


Story compiled with assistance from wire reports