United Nations peacekeepers have killed eight civilians during an attack on their supply convoy in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The UN mission in the country, known as MONUSCO, said on Wednesday the UN convoy was returning from a resupply mission north of Goma, when assailants set four trucks on fire.
The governor of North Kivu province said the troops were firing “warning shots,” which also wounded 28 people in the violence.
Lieutenant-General Constant Ndima, the governor’s spokesman, said, “The MONUSCO soldiers in charge of security fired warning shots, which unfortunately caused the death of eight of our compatriots among the displaced and 28 wounded.”
MONUSCO had said three people died when the peacekeepers, accompanied by Congolese soldiers, “tried to protect the convoy.”
One of the largest and most expensive UN missions in the world, MONUSCO has been in the DRC since 1999 and fields about 16,000 peacekeepers. Residents accuse it of failing to deal with the dozens of armed groups operating in the eastern DRC.
Over 120 armed groups operate in the troubled region, where conflict has displaced millions of people and civilian massacres are common.
The UN peacekeeping mission is under local criticism for its perceived inability to end decades of militia violence in the conflict-torn east of the country.
MONUSCO took over from an earlier UN force in the DR Congo in 2010 with the aim of protecting civilians and supporting the government.
The UN mission, which racks up a bill of $1 billion annually, has been in the process of gradually withdrawing from the country for several years but that hasn’t happened due to recurrent violence.
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