November 16, 2018 / 8:39 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Mortar bombs fired at UN peacekeeping base in eastern Congo

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GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo Nov 16 (Reuters) - Mortar bombs were fired at a U.N. peacekeeping base and gunfire could be heard on Friday in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern city of Beni, an area which has seen a surge in fighting with rebel groups, two sources said.

The attack follows the death of twelve Congolese soldiers and seven U.N. peacekeepers in clashes with militias earlier this week - one of the deadliest for troops in Congo’s volatile eastern borderlands since a rebel attack in early 2018.

Congolese army spokesman Mak Hazukay said the army was monitoring the situation in Beni and had imposed a curfew on part of the city.

Eastern Congo has been plagued by banditry and armed insurrections for more than two decades since the fall of military ruler Mobutu Sese Seko. The past year has seen a surge in violence around North Kivu region.

Beni is the epicentre of the region’s Ebola epidemic and efforts to control the outbreak - the worst in Congo’s history with over 300 infected and two-thirds of those killed - have been hampered by insecurity.

Reporting by Giulia Paravicini and Fiston Mahamba; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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