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UN blames rebel group for deadly attacks on peacekeepers in DRC 

By William M. Reilly UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- The UN Special Investigation into deadly attacks on Tanzanian UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) late last year blames a single rebel group and faults the blue helmets’ leadership, the chief UN spokesman said on Friday.

The Alliance of Democratic Forces (ADF) is suspected in the Dec. 7 attack that killed 15 and wounded 43 UN peacekeepers from Tanzania at their UN mission (MONUSCO) base in Semuliki, DRC, said spokesman Stephane Dujarric. There is still one peacekeeper missing from the attack.

The investigation also covered two earlier attacks against MONUSCO peacekeepers from Tanzania in nearby Mamundioma on Sept. 16 and Oct. 7, 2017, he said.

The three attacks were all in the Beni region of North Kivu.

The Special Investigation team was led by former UN Assistant-Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions, Dmitry Titov of Russia. The panel included military and security experts, political and logistical officers and two senior officers of the Tanzanian People’s Defense Forces.

The panel aimed at establishing the circumstances leading to the attacks, evaluate MONUSCO’s response and determine actions needed to prevent such attacks from occurring again.

“The Special Investigation team concluded that the three attacks against the UN peacekeepers were carried out using a similar modus operandi (method of operation) and that all available evidence points to the ADF as the attacker,” Dujarric said, quoting a Note to Correspondents released Friday.

“The team found a number of gaps in the training and posture of MONUSCO and its Force Intervention Brigade (FIB),” it said. “Moreover, the Investigation team noted that the Mission did not have an actionable contingency plan to reinforce and extract its peacekeepers during the attack.”

“Issues of command-and-control, leadership and lack of essential enablers such as aviation, engineers and intelligence were also major obstacles and need to be addressed urgently,” the note said.

The team recommends that MONUSCO, UN Headquarters and troop-contributing countries should “actively pursue a strategy aimed at rendering the FIB more robust, agile and better suited for offensive operations especially in remote and difficult terrains,” the note said.

“Based on the findings of the Special Investigation team, MONUSCO has updated its Action Plan on Improving Security of Peacekeepers,” Dujarric said. “It has installed perimeter lighting, upgraded the communications infrastructure and enhanced the security perimeters at several of its bases.”



Over 40 killed in ethnic conflicts in northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo

BUNIA Democratic Republic of the Congo (Xinhua) -- At least 40 people were killed from Thursday night to Friday in the village of Maze following inter-ethnic conflicts between the Hema and Lendu communities in Ituri province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), according to the security and local sources.

According to the security sources, most of the victims killed were from the Hema ethnic group who were surprised by the Lendu assailants attacking their village late at night.

The vice governor of Ituri province told Xinhua that a security meeting is underway between the authorities to determine the security situation. Local sources of civil society and villagers contacted by Xinhua also confirmed the information on the victims.

“The bodies of the people killed that night in this village of Maze are still outside, we want the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs of the central government who is staying in Bunia to first come and see these bodies of the victims before the burial so that they realize the massacres that have been going on for a few months in the territory of Ndjugu in Ituri, “said Jean Bosco Lalo, president of the Ituri civil society.

For more than two months, hostilities between Hema and Lendu in the territory of Ndjugu have already caused the death of more than 100 people. Thousands of houses are also burned and more than 60,000 people have moved to Bunia, the capital of the province, but thousands more have crossed into Uganda to find refuge, according to local aid workers.

The authorities have deployed the armed forces over the past week to support elements of the police who are currently overwhelmed by the severity of hostilities on the ground.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has described the situation in Ituri as the human slaughterhouse where thousands of people are killed.



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