KINSHASA, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) officially requested the departure of Mathias Gillmann, spokesperson for the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), from its territory, amid tensions running high amid protests against the UN mission in the eastern part of the country since last week.
In an official letter from Congolese Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula dated July 28, which was published Wednesday morning, the DRC authorities asked the MONUSCO to make the necessary arrangements for Mathias Gillmann to leave the national territory "as soon as possible," given Gillmann's "insensitive and inopportune remarks."
"The government considers that the presence of this official (Gillmann) on the national territory is not likely to promote a climate of mutual trust and serenity so essential between the Congolese institutions and MONUSCO with a view, not only to the better fulfillment of the mandate entrusted by the UN Security Council but also to complete the transition plan for the purposes of its definitive withdrawal by 2024 as agreed," read the letter.
The DRC government asked the MONUSCO to process its request as a matter of urgency, without specifying the content of these "indelicate and inopportune statements."
In an interview on the sidelines of the weekly MONUSCO press conference in Kinshasa, the capital of DRC, on July 13, Mathias Gillmann asserted that the deployment of a large part of the resources of MONUSCO and the Congolese army in the fight against the rebels of the Mouvement du 23 Mars (M23) has "negative implications" on other regions where other armed groups operate.
Thirty-six people have been killed, including three members of the MONUSCO, and about 170 others were injured during the protests, said the government spokesperson Patrick Muyaya at a press conference late Tuesday, adding that the government decided to reassess the agreement on the withdrawal of the MONUSCO amid escalating protests against the MONUSCO in the eastern part of the country. ■