The UN says protesters who placed corpses in front of their headquarters in the Central African Republic (CAR) were using the bodies for ‘propaganda’.
“Some people are using dead bodies... to say that we have killed civilians,” a UN spokesman said.
On Wednesday, demonstrators calling for an end to violence put 17 bodies outside the UN building in Bangui, says a BBC report.
They said the dead were innocent civilians killed in clashes between UN troops and armed groups.
But the UN says the dead were armed criminals who had been targeting peacekeepers and government soldiers.
“They shot at our peacekeepers and we returned fire,” UN spokesman Vladimir Monteiro said. “The bodies resulted from the clashes.”
“We condemn the fact that some people are using dead bodies for a kind of propaganda,” he added.
UN troops began an operation on Sunday to disarm vigilantes in the PK5 neighbourhood of Bangui.
A self-styled Muslim militia is based there, purporting to protect residents.
Monteiro said that the UN would continue the operation despite the angry protests.
CAR was plunged into turmoil in 2013 when Muslim rebels from the Seleka umbrella group seized power in the majority-Christian country. A band of mostly Christian militias, called the anti-balaka, rose up to counter the Seleka.
A new government elected in 2016 has failed to bring peace to the mineral-rich nation which has been unstable since its independence from France in 1960.