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Situation in Beni, DRC 'disturbing', says UN envoy

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-11-27 11:05

UNITED NATIONS - The UN envoy for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) said Tuesday that the situation in the northeastern city of Beni is "disturbing", amid armed attacks and protests against her mission's failure to mitigate them.

"Since the beginning of this month, we have about 14 attacks and 80 people killed," Leila Zerrougui, the special representative and head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), told the press via video link.

She said MONUSCO has a "responsibility to protect" but "it's not easy to protect every person," adding she had held meetings with the DRC president and leaders of the national security council to "make sure that we protect civilians."

According to media reports, at least six people have been killed during protests against MONUSCO's failures to stop deadly attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia, which has plagued the area for years.

Zerrougui said the protesters had attacked and set fire to a UN compound and the city town hall, noting that there is manipulation against the DRC government and MONUSCO.

"We are the scapegoat," she said. "We have no other option but to do our work ... and try to mitigate the attacks ... against the civilian population."

In late October, the DRC armed forces announced they had launched an operation to eradicate armed groups in eastern DRC.

Since then, scores of civilians have been killed in what appeared to be a warning by the ADF not to collaborate with the authorities.

After eight more civilians were killed in Beni on Sunday, crowds started to protest the failures to quell the ADF.

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