Monday , May 10 2021

Seven peacekeepers killed in clashes near parts of eastern Congo in Eboli

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Fiston Mahamba

GOMA, Congo (Reuters) – At least seven US peacekeepers have been killed in clashes with militias in an area in the center of the largest epidemic of the Ebola Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Nations and diplomatic sources said on Thursday.

"Our peace colleagues say that six juniors from Malawi and one from Tanzania, part of the UN peacekeeping operation in the DRC … were killed yesterday in the territory of Benni in North Kivu," UN spokeswoman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

In eastern Congo, for more than two decades, a bandit and armed rebellions have been looting, since the fall of military ruler Mobut Sesao Sekoy, but last year there was an increase in violence around North Kivu.

Benny and surrounding villages also suffer the Ebola epidemic that has infected more than 300 people and killed two-thirds of them.

This is the third worst epidemic ever, after the outbreak of 2013-2016 in West Africa, when 28,000 people were infected and in Uganda in 2000, when there were 425 cases.

Repeated armed attacks by at least two rebel groups hamper international efforts to quit the virus, preventing medical workers from reaching the Ebola victims.

Spokesperson U.N. said that Secretary General Antonio Guterres "invites all armed groups to stop their destabilizing activities, which continue to contribute to the suffering of the population and complicate the response to the current ebola epidemic."

(Report by Fiston Mahamba in Goma, Michelle Nichols in the United Nations and David Levis in Nairobi, Tim Cocks Writing, Editing by Kevin Liffei)

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