Military Officers in Congo Face Charges for the Deaths of Over 40 Protesters

Military Officers In Congo Face Charges For The Deaths Of Over 40 Protesters
  • On Tuesday, six soldiers were charged for their participation in the killing of over 40 individuals
  • This occurred after the army’s crackdown on violent protests against the UN in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo last week
  • The Congolese government reported that 43 people were killed and 56 were injured during the unrest in Goma on Wednesday

A group of soldiers, including a colonel and a lieutenant-colonel from the republican guard, were charged on Tuesday for their involvement in the killing of over 40 people during an army crackdown on violent anti-UN demonstrations in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo last week. The military court in Goma stated that they are being prosecuted for “crimes against humanity by murder, malicious destruction, and inciting soldiers to commit acts contrary to duty or discipline”.

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The charges were announced at the beginning of the trial on Tuesday, but the proceedings were suspended due to heavy rain. The soldiers have not yet been asked to enter their plea.

A source close to the presidency, who preferred to remain anonymous, stated that the two officers, whose arrest was announced on Sunday, were commanding the soldiers who opened fire on the protesters.

The Congolese government reported that 43 people were killed and 56 were injured during the unrest in Goma last Wednesday. However, the UN human rights office suggested that the death toll could be higher.

Protests against the UN peacekeeping mission in eastern Congo, known as MONUSCO, have been ongoing since last year. These protests have been fueled, in part, by grievances regarding the mission’s failure to protect civilians from decades of militia violence.

Over 40 people were killed and 168 were arrested during the crackdown on an anti-UN protest in eastern DR Congo last week.


A previous anti-MONUSCO protest in July 2022 led to more than 15 deaths, including three peacekeepers in Goma and the city of Butembo.

“The government’s response is a step in the right direction, but a thorough and impartial investigation must examine higher-ranking officials to ensure true justice,” said Thomas Fessy, a senior Congo researcher at Human Rights Watch.

He called on the government to investigate senior officials who may have been responsible for the operation and release civilians who were arbitrarily arrested.

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