At least three demonstrators were killed on Tuesday in an attack on a UN convoy in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Nations mission in the country said in a statement released on Wednesday.
Militias have ravaged the mineral-rich eastern DRC for decades, many of them the result of regional hostilities that erupted in the 1990s and early 2000s.
The UN convoy was returning from a resupply operation north of Goma, the seat of North Kivu province, when four trucks were set on fire, according to a MONUSCO statement.
"Three people, unfortunately, lost their lives during the attack," as the peacekeepers, accompanied by Congolese soldiers, "tried to protect the convoy," the statement said.
The incident happened near Kanyaruchinya, where thousands of displaced people live, according to Jean-Claude Mambo Kawaya, a civil society leader in the Nyiragongo area.
Following the burning of vehicles, the crowd attempted to break into a container containing weapons, at which point the peacekeepers opened fire, killing three people, he added.
"The population and displaced persons attacked a MONUSCO convoy," said Colonel Patrick Iduma, the territory's administrator, without giving further details of the toll.
Despite a peace strategy agreed upon in Angola last July and the deployment of an East African Community force in November, the M23 rebel organization has seized territory since its revival in November 2021.
The DRC has accused Rwanda of assisting the M23, a charge that has been substantiated by UN experts and Western countries, while Kigali has disputed the accusations.
MONUSCO is frequently chastised for failing to end the conflict, and protests against the peacekeepers have escalated in recent months.
Protesters assaulted MONUSCO installations in Goma, Butembo, Beni, and other towns in July, demanding that the soldiers leave. According to authorities, at least 36 individuals were killed, including four peacekeepers.
At an emergency summit organised to examine methods to calm the raging bloodshed in eastern DRC, East African leaders called for an immediate ceasefire.
The seven-country East African Community, which is driving mediation efforts to stop the violence in the huge central African nation, sponsored the meetings in Burundi.
On Sunday, a South African peacekeeper was killed and another was critically injured when their helicopter was shot at in North Kivu.
Eight peacekeepers died last March when their helicopter crashed near a confrontation between the Congolese army and the M23.
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