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Protester killed in new anti-UN demo in DR Congo

AFP  |  Beni (DR Congo) 

A young man was killed and five other people were injured Monday in a new protest against UN forces in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), an AFP reporter saw.

Demonstrations have erupted in the city of Beni, where local people accuse the UN peacekeeping force MONUSCO of failing to protect them against a notorious militia, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

The reporter said police repeatedly fired warning shots in a bid to disperse a new protest.

He then saw a corpse being taken to Beni hospital by fellow protesters. The head of the hospital morgue confirmed that the body had been fatally wounded by gunfire.

Eastern DRC has been troubled for years by militias that control swathes of territory and exploit its mineral wealth.

The Congolese army launched operations against the ADF at the end of October. In response the ADF has carried out massacres in an apparent bid to discourage civilians from helping the military.

Another 27 people were hacked to death on Wednesday, bringing the number of people killed in militia violence in and around Beni to 107 since November 5.

The mounting toll has sparked anger, which is being focussed especially at the UN force MONUSCO, one of the biggest UN peacekeeping operations in the world.

The force comprises more than 16,500 military personnel and observers, 1,300 police and at least 4,000 civilians, but has been struggling to make progress in a vast country beset by armed groups as well as an Ebola epidemic, poverty and poor governance.

At least eight people have been killed in anti-MONUSCO demonstrations since November 23, according to an AFP toll.

A protest strike in Beni on Monday was widely observed. No shops opened for business and all other activities seemed to be paralysed.

MONUSCO has pointed out that the Congolese army offensive was ordered unilaterally, and that it has no authority to launch operations by itself.

On Saturday, a crowd in Beni lynched two people they suspected of being ADF members a day after a soldier was killed in Oicha, three kilometres (20 miles) away by a mob who mistook him for an ADF fighter.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, December 02 2019. 19:30 IST