At least 13 killed in latest militant attack in DR Congo’s troubled east

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At least 13 people were killed Wednesday in eastern DR Congo by an armed group blamed for a string of massacres that have sparked deadly protests against the UN's peacekeeping mission, officials said.


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Thirteen people were "killed at dawn" near the town of Oicha, 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the city of Beni, the spokesman for the UN mission MONUSCO told AFP, while local administrator Donat Kibwana said 14 bodies had arrived at the Oicha morgue.

"The army is already at the site and is pursuing" the attackers, Kibwana said by phone from Oicha.

Ninety-four civilians in the Beni area have been killed by armed groups since November 5, following the launch of an offensive by the country's army, according to the Congo Research Group (CRG), a not-for-profit organisation.

The "vast majority" of killings have been carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a notorious militia that has plagued eastern DR Congo since the 1990s, a CRG specialist said.

Fear and anger have prompted local people to take to the streets, accusing the authorities and MONUSCO of failing to protect them, in demonstrations that have led to six deaths.

MONUSCO said in the capital Kinshasa on Wednesday it was launching a probe after gaining evidence that its troops may have killed a demonstrator in Beni the previous day.

"The elements that we have indicate that it was Blue Helmets who were responsible for the death of this young man," a spokesman told AFP.

In a statement, MONUSCO quoted mission chief Leila Zerrougui as saying the man "was reportedly killed in an exchange with Blue Helmets as he was about to throw a petrol bomb".

On Monday, a crowd stormed one of the two UN camps near Beni and set fire to one of its offices.

Separately, a student was injured and 10 other people arrested on Wednesday as Congolese police broke up a demonstration outside the university in Goma, where anger also has boiled over.

"Our demonstration is patriotic. MONUSCO is standing on the sidelines as the massacres unfold, when its chief mission is to protect civilians," law student Fiston Muhindo told AFP.

"They have to go. MONUSCO is serving no purpose," said fellow law student Junior Mastaki, adding that the Congolese authorities were "incapable" of protecting the public.

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