UN peacekeepers killed eight civilians during an attack on their supply convoy in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a military governor said on Wednesday.
The troops were firing “warning shots,” which also wounded 28 people in the violence that erupted on Tuesday, the governor of North Kivu province said.
The United Nations convoy was returning from a resupply mission north of Goma, the provincial capital, when assailants set four trucks on fire, the UN mission in the country MONUSCO said on Tuesday.
The attack took place at Kanyaruchinya, where thousands of displaced people live.
MONUSCO had said three people died when the peacekeepers, accompanied by Congolese soldiers, “tried to protect the convoy”.
“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,” a spokesman for governor Lieutenant-General Constant Ndima said on Wednesday.
He said an investigation would be carried out.
MONUSCO has not responded to AFP‘s request for comment.
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 eastern DRC, including M23 rebels.
The group has seized chunks of territory since its resurgence in November 2021 despite a peace roadmap hammered out in Angola last July and the deployment of an East African Community force in November.
The DRC has accused Rwanda of supporting the M23, a charge corroborated by UN experts and Western countries, although Kigali has denied the accusations.
Demonstrations against the peacekeepers have grown in recent months.
In July, protesters stormed MONUSCO facilities in Goma, Butembo, Beni, and other towns to demand the peacekeepers’ departure. At least 36 people were killed, including four UN soldiers, according to authorities.
A South African peacekeeper was killed and another seriously wounded on Sunday when their helicopter was shot at in North Kivu.
Last March, eight peacekeepers were killed when their helicopter crashed near a battle between the Congolese army and the M23.
Militias have plagued the mineral-rich eastern DRC for decades, many of them a legacy of regional wars that flared during the 1990s and early 2000s.