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DR Congo: UN regrets Government move to expel Mission spokesperson

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Peacekeepers patrol Butembo in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (file photo).

The United Nations continues to engage with authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in the wake of the deadly shooting this past weekend involving peacekeepers from its Mission there, MONUSCO. 

On Thursday, the head of UN Peacekeeping, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, briefed a closed-door session of the Security Council to discuss the situation in the country, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told journalists in New York. 

Ambassadors met a day after Congolese authorities officially expelled the MONUSCO Spokesperson from the country, reportedly for making “indelicate and inappropriate remarks” following recent deadly protests in the east, according to media reports. 

Regret and commitment  

Mr. Dujarric said the UN regrets the decision. 

“In line with the status of the UN under the Charter of the Organization, any concerns that the Government may have regarding the actions of a member of MONUSCO should be raised directly with the Mission leadership. The Mission and UN Headquarters are accordingly engaging with the Government to address this matter,” he added. 

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MONUSCO also lamented the government’s decision.  In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Mission underscored its commitment “to continuing to work alongside the Congolese population and authorities to implement the mandate entrusted to it by the Security Council.” 

Establish accountability 

The shooting incident occurred on Sunday in Kasindi, a town in North Kivu province, on the border between the DRC and Uganda. 

The peacekeepers were returning from leave, when they opened fire at a border post, under circumstances which are not yet clear. Two people were killed, and several others wounded, according to media reports. 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres was “outraged” by the “serious incident”, in addition to being saddened and dismayed over the loss of life and injuries, according to a statement issued that day by his Spokesperson. 

The Secretary-General strongly emphasized the need to establish accountability, and welcomed MONUSCO’s decision to immediately open an investigation. 

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