Eight civilians died overnight in DR Congo’s volatile city of Beni in a fresh militant attack and angry residents partly burnt the town hall on Monday, an AFP reporter said.
Army spokesman Colonel Mak Hazukai confirmed the latest casualties in the city, near the Ugandan border, telling AFP that “the enemy entered the Boikene quarter and killed eight civilians.”
Incensed locals then partly burnt the town hall and then moved towards the camp of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monusco) on the outskirts of Beni, accusing it of inaction.
There have been a string of rallies against local forces and UN peacekeepers in Beni for failing to stop attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia.
Nearly 70 civilians have been massacred in the Beni region since military action against the ADF began at the start of November.
A protester died in police firing on Saturday. Two policemen were killed the same day by angry demonstrators, the UN Okapi radio said.
The ADF began as an Islamist rebellion hostile to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. They fell back into eastern DRC in 1995 and have recruited people of different nationalities, but appear to have halted raids inside Uganda.
Monusco on Saturday said the Congolese army had launched the offensive unilaterally.
“Monusco cannot engage in operations in a war zone without being asked and without strict coordination with the national army,” it said in a tweet, adding that uncoordinated action could lead to friendly fire.
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