At least two killed in eastern DR Congo as protests continue

A man pulls a cart loaded with goods at the market in Butembo, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on October 5, 2019.
A man pulls a cart loaded with goods at the market in Butembo, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on October 5, 2019. Zohra Bensemra, Reuters

Two people were killed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday in fresh protests at failures to root out a notorious armed group, a military official said.


Demonstrations erupted in Beni and the town of Butembo, 50 kilometres (30 miles) away, military prosecutor Kumbu Ngoma told AFP’s correspondent in Beni.

The toll of two dead was confirmed by a spokesman in Kinshasa for the UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO.

Four people died in protests on Monday, military investigators said.

The region has been plagued for more than two decades by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a shadowy militia that has its historical roots among Ugandan Islamists opposed to Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni.

On October 30, the Congolese armed forces announced they had launched an offensive to wipe out armed groups in eastern DRC.

Since then, dozens of civilians have been killed, in what commentators say is a warning by the ADF not to collaborate with the authorities.

After eight more civilians were killed in Beni late Sunday, crowds took to the streets, angered at the perceived failures by the Congolese authorities and UN to quell the ADF.

They set fire to Beni town hall and stormed one of two UN camps, where they torched an office.

“There were four deaths during the day,” Ngoma late Monday said. “Ten civilians were wounded and three Congolese military were also hurt.”

In Tuesday’s incidents, an AFP reporter saw the body of a young man with a head wound, lying about 50 metres (yards) from the UN camp.

Malawian UN troops were deployed at the base, but Congolese security forces had also been in the area, and it was unclear how the young man had been killed.

Beni, in addition to being in the front line of militia violence, is also the epicentre of an Ebola epidemic that has killed around 2,200 people since August 2018.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday it had moved 49 Ebola staff out of Beni because of the insecurity, and warned of the impact this would have in the fight against the epidemic.

Seventy-one key staff will remain in the city to try to push on with the work.


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