In eastern Congo, North Kivu province, at least 10 people have been killed in violent protests against the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the region. Governor Carly Nzanzo Casivita was announced on Monday. More than twenty others were injured. Meanwhile, a new government has been announced in the capital, Kinshasa.
More than a week ago, there were protests in North Kivu against the “passivity” of blue helmets and international aid organizations. Recently, the number of insurgent attacks in the region has risen sharply. The ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) alone, affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS), has killed more than 200 people and displaced 40,000 others since the beginning of the year, according to the United Nations.
Initially, the protests were peaceful, but on Sunday and Monday they turned violent. According to the authorities, in the cities of Goma, Beni and Butembo, youths set up checkpoints, destroyed homes and shops, and torched tires. They chanted slogans such as “You have failed,” “Do not protect civilians,” and “You are partners.” Kasivita said schools and shops remained largely closed on Monday, while security forces launched a crackdown on protesters.
Blue helmets have been in the Congo since 1999. Then they came at the invitation of the government at the time.
Meanwhile, new Congolese Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukondi announced the formation of a new government on Monday, nearly two months after his appointment. Sama, in his 40s, was tasked by President Felix Tshisekedi with forming a new government after Tshisekedi sacked the former prime minister, a confidant of former president Joseph Kabila.
A whole series of conditions must be taken into account in forming that government. Sama incorporated some of those conditions on Monday after a meeting with Tshisekedi. For example, the new government should be limited in size, number of women and youth, and have representatives from different regions and from the various political forces that make up the sacred union that helped Tshisekedi oust his predecessor Kabila from power.
The new government includes 57 members, 14 of whom are women. The government of Sama’s predecessor, Silvestre Elonga, still had 66 members, 13 of whom were women. In the government of the Holy Union, just over a quarter of the members are women, four out of five ministers are new names and the average age is 47.