Demonstrators in the volatile eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo have called for the immediate withdrawal of the United Nations peacekeeping mission. Recent protests in Butembo-Beni, Goma, Bukavu and Uvira turned into deadly attacks against the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
By July 26, at least 15 people had died, including UN peacekeepers, as demonstrators stormed and burnt the mission’s bases in Goma, Butembo and Uvira. They accused the 22-year-old mission of failing to stop decades of fighting in the country.
The UN mission, however, has long been blamed for what should be the DRC government’s responsibility: de-escalating violence in the country’s eastern region and finding long-term solutions to peace.
Across the entire eastern region, from Ituri to South Kivu, and for roughly three decades now, local populations have suffered daily due to the violence meted out either by armed groups or Congolese security services.
The situation remains volatile despite the presence of the world’s largest UN mission, which was first established and deployed in 1999. Its mandate was expanded in 2010 to include the protection of civilians. As of November 2021, it had more than 16,000 uniformed personnel in the DRC.
Violent reactions against the UN mission are an expression of the local population’s frustrations about…