At least eight people were killed on Sunday night in an attack by rebel fighters in the northeastern city of Beni in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Three more people were killed and several others wounded after angry residents took to the streets clashing with security forces.
“We are protesting because no one is doing anything to protect us. Everyone, the government soldiers and the UN soldiers, have failed to protect us,” Tony Mumbere, a protester, told Al Jazeera.
The city has repeatedly come under attack from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed group that operates in DRC and neighbouring Uganda.
Thousands have fled Beni in raids attributed to ADF fighters. More than 60 people have been killed in the Beni region since the Congolese army started a campaign against the armed group last month, according to officials.
As was the case during previous military operations against the ADF, its fighters have retaliated by attacking civilians, according to the local civil society activists.
The attacks blamed by the government on the ADF have killed hundreds of civilians since 2014.
The ADF is one of the dozens of armed groups vying for territory and control in the mineral-rich border region.
On Monday, protesters directed their anger at the United Nations, burning several buildings in the city.
“They [UN peacekeepers] should either protect us or leave our country. We have been killed while they just watch. What are they here to do?”Jonas Kambale told Al Jazeera.
Meanwhile, MONUSCO – the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC – said it was not invited by Kinshasa to take part in the operation against the rebel group.
“We cannot impose ourselves in an operational situation for offensive operations. We came in support to evacuate the wounded, we came in support to share information when possible,” Francois Grignon, an acting deputy special representative at MONUSCO, said in tweets posted by the mission on Monday.
“We are ready to use our means of attack … from the moment when we identify clear military targets. We must be careful not to cause more casualties among civilian populations by conducting these operations,” he added.
Beni is also at the centre of an Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 2,000 people since 2018.
An opportunity to end the outbreak could be lost, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, due to the continuing conflict in the region.
Alain Alwak Uaykani contributed to this report from Beni