New Delhi: Two Border Security Force personnel of the UN Peacekeeping contingent succumbed to fatal injuries during the violent armed protests on Tuesday at Butembo in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Reinforcements of the Army component of the UN Force are on their way to handling the situation, BSF officials said here.
Expressing grief at the incident, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the perpetrators of these outrageous attacks must be held accountable and brought to justice.
“Deeply grieved at the loss of lives of two valiant Indian peacekeepers of the BSF in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They were part of the UN Peacekeeping Mission, known as MONUSCO. The perpetrators of these outrageous attacks must be held accountable and brought to justice,” he said in a tweet.
According to the inputs, locals had given a call for demonstration and agitation against MONUSCO (United Nations Organisations Stabilisation Mission in DR Congo) throughout DR Congo.
The call was for the whole week starting Monday. The situation turned violent in Goma about 350 km South of Beni on Monday and the violent demonstrators looted a big MONUSCO base and set UN property on fire.
Both Beni and Butembo were on high alert where two platoons of BSF have been deployed on detachment since June 2 this year.
The protests on Monday passed off peacefully. However, the situation in Butembo turned violent on Tuesday. The camp of Morroco Rapid Deployment Batallion where BSF platoons are stationed was surrounded by demonstrators. Congolese Police (PNC) and Congolese Army (FARDC) troops arrived but could not control the crowd estimated to be over 500 people.
Initially, the demonstrators resorted to stone pelting. To contain the situation, MORRDB troops fired in the air and BSF troops fired tear smoke ammunition to disperse the crowd. They, however, managed to breach the perimeter wall at three different places.
The crowd was repelled but they gathered again. There were reports that armed rebels had infiltrated the demonstrators. The second attack was more fierce with firing from small arms. Morrocan and Indian troops fired in self-defense. Two BSF personnel succumbed to fatal injuries in the incident.
As per reports, sporadic firing is still going on. MORRDB also suffered one fatality and one more personnel sustained a gunshot injury.