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Anti-UN Protests in the Eastern Cities of Goma and Butembo Turn Violent

At least 15 people, including three UN peacekeepers, have been killed and dozens of others injured in clashes during anti-UN protests in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Tuesday, officials said. The UN confirmed that “violent attackers snatched weapons from Congolese police” and fired on the UN personnel killing one peacekeeper and two international policemen and injuring another serving with the UN peacekeeping force at the UN base in Butembo in North Kivu province in the east. During the protests Monday, hundreds blocked roads and chanted slogans against the UN before the peacekeeping mission’s headquarters and logistical base was stormed and looted. Helicopters, meanwhile, airlifted UN staff from the premises while security forces worked to push demonstrators back, firing tear gas. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the violence saying, “any attack directed against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime,” a UN spokesperson said. Guterres called upon the Congolese authorities to bring those responsible to justice and added that the UN would work with Congolese authorities to investigate the deaths of demonstrators. India’s foreign minister confirmed that two of its UN peacekeepers were killed. The third one was from Morocco, Butembo police chief Paul Ngoma said.