At least 10 people have died as protests erupted against a United Nations peacekeeping force in Butembo in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Seven of the dead were civilians while the others were UN personnel, Reuters has reported.
According to Reuters, local media said the protesters in the eastern city were shot by peacekeepers.
Congolese people have protested against the presence of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo also known as MONUSCO in the country for decades accusing the UN of being ineffective.
The eastern part of DR Congo remains volatile with more than 100 active rebel groups causing an upsurge in violence in the area.
This was the second day of protests with people calling for the UN to withdraw its peacekeepers from the area.
On Monday, July 25, the demonstrations, carried out by the government’s youth wing, turned violent when protesters stormed and looted the UN mission’s local headquarters and a logistical base in the city of Goma. At least five people were killed, officials said.
Then on Tuesday the protests increased resulting in the death of more people.
“They are teargassing us because we came to say that Monusco does not help us. They’ve been in Congo for 22 years and nothing works,” a protester Anselme Musimbwa said to Reuters.
Jack Sinzahera, another demonstrator said: “We have our own police that will look after our security and property, we don’t want anything to do with Monusco.”
One of the graphic images shared on social media showed someone lying still on the ground, while others shouted that he had been shot dead by the UN forces.
“[Monusco] stands alongside the people and supports the national defence and security forces in their fight against the armed groups.” Monusco head Khassim Diagne said.
A UN peacekeeping force has been in DR Congo for more than two decades. Monusco took over from a previous UN mission in 2010.
According to the UN, Monusco currently has almost 18,000 personnel in the country, including more than 12,000 soldiers – Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have provided the largest number of troops.