DR Congo:UN says two peacekeepers killed, 12 injured

Ugandan rebels have attacked two military bases in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), killing two United Nations peacekeepers and injuring a dozen others.

The UN mission in Congo, known as MONUSCO, said the casualties occurred during two simultaneous attacks early on Monday, when soldiers were battling the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group along the main road leading from North Kivu province’s Beni territory to the Uganda border.

The UN did not specify the nationality of the dead soldiers or the injured.

“This region has seen more than enough violence already,” the mission chief, Maman Sidikou, said in a statement, adding that MONUSCO would “strongly” respond to threats by armed groups.

A Congolese army spokesman in the region, Mak Hazukay, also confirmed the report and later said the bases housed Tanzanian peacekeepers who formed part of an intervention brigade with a mandate to conduct offensive operations against the rebel group.

The assault came a day after the ADF militants killed at least 30 civilians by slitting their throats and took another 19 hostages near the city of Beni.

Militants have ambushed a group of about 30 civilians in northeastern Congo and have killed many of them before fighting a fierce battle with the army.

The recent fighting is a fresh outbreak of violence for a region plagued by ethnic tensions and massacres that killed more than 800 people between 2014 and 2016.

The Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) rebel group, which was founded in Uganda in 1995 and later moved to Congo, is believed to have roughly 400 members and has been accused of committing serious human rights violations, including recruiting child soldiers and rape.

ADF-NALU and dozens of other armed groups have been active in eastern Congo since the 1996-2003 Congo wars.

The Congolese army, joined by UN troops, is on the offensive against the rebel group which is blamed for more than two decades of violence that has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

By Africafrique and agencies

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