According to a BSF and UN spokeswoman, three UN peacekeepers, including two Indian Border Security Force (BSF) employees, and at least 12 civilians were killed during violent anti-UN rallies in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The protests were spurred by allegations that the UN mission, MONUSCO, did not protect civilians from years-long civil wartime militia violence. The Associated Press reported that on the second day of the protests in Goma, at least five people were killed, and about 50 more were hurt. A senior officer claimed that both of the two deceased BSP members were head constables and were from Rajasthan.
According to a BSF spokesperson, the two BSF members who were stationed in Butembo, Head Constable (GD) Sanwala Ram Vishnoi and Head Constable (GD) Shishupal Singh of the UN Peacekeeping Contingent (MONUSCO), passed away on July 26 as a result of multiple wounds they received during the chaotic armed demonstrations. According to officials, two platoons, or roughly 70–74 BSF men, were stationed in the area and were enlisted in May of this year, according to PTI.
According to local media, the BBC said peacekeepers shot the protestors.
Regarding these claims of losses among civilians, MONUSCO claimed that the mission had exercised restraint in its reaction to the brutal attacks on the bases. MONUSCO would assist qualified authorities in conducting an investigation into the deaths; it was further stated.
“We must commend the peacekeepers’ professionalism and skill because each of their actions prevented bloodshed. MONUSCO reiterates its message of calm and peace to the demonstrators and thanks the government, political players, and civil society for their support of MONUSCO in these trying times, according to the press release.
S. Jaishankar, the external affairs minister, expressed his deep sadness for the loss of the two brave Indian peacekeepers and demanded that those responsible be held accountable and brought to justice. To the relatives of the deceased, the minister expressed his condolences.
According to a tweet from Jaishankar, “The perpetrators of these abhorrent crimes must be held accountable and brought to justice.”
The UN secretary-general’s deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq stated that violence against the force of UN peacekeeping in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is on the rise at a regular press briefing at the UN. He asserted that the terrorists grabbed firearms from the Congolese police and started shooting at the UN troops.
When a reporter from PTI posed a query, Haq responded, “This is something that should not have happened. This behavior is unacceptable. We also deplore the murder of our coworkers. We send our deep condolences to the friends, families & coworkers of the victims. Of course, we also send our condolences to the Indian government. I think we’ve spoken to the Indian Mission about the dead peacekeepers,” PTI said.
Indian representatives to the UN have frequently emphasized that there has always been a mismatch between the mission’s mandate and available resources.
India had argued that there needed to be “more clarity on the interpretation of the mission, in respect of Force Intervention Brigade and other battalions is vital” at a UN Security Council briefing on MONUSCO in March.
“This will assist TCCs in clearly comprehending the operations to be carried out and in properly equipping. From the perspective of the safety and security of peacekeepers, it is very crucial, the Indian official said.