Two killed in violent protests in eastern DR Congo

Beni
– 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, 50km away, military prosecutor Kumbu Ngoma told AFP’s
correspondent in Beni. The toll of two dead was
confirmed by a spokesperson 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 on Sunday, crowds took to the streets, angered at the
perceived failures by the Congolese authorities and UN to quell the ADF.

Frontline of militia violence, Ebola epidemic

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 said late on Monday. “Ten civilians were
wounded and three Congolese military were also hurt.”

In New York, the United Nations
Security Council condemned the attacks against civilians and UN installations
in DR Congo during a meeting about the anti-UN protests that have turned
violent in Beni.

In Tuesday’s incidents, an AFP
reporter saw the body of a young man with a head wound, lying about 50 metres 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
frontline of militia violence, is also the epicentre of an Ebola epidemic that
has killed around 2 200 people since August 2018.

The World Health Organisation
(WHO said on 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.