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DR Congo: UN mission says police arrest more than 200 suspected of recent attacks

5 November 2014 – The United Nations stabilization mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) announced today that more than 200 people have been arrested in relation to the recent attacks against civilians around the town of Beni in the long-restive eastern part of the vast African country.

According to an announcement on Radio Okapi, created by the UN mission known by its French acronym MONUSCO, and the Swiss non-governmental organization Fondation Hirondelle, MONUSCO spokesman Charles Bambara said among those arrested were members of the Ugandan-based rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), who are believed to be responsible for these attacks.

Weapons, ammunitions, bombs, radio sets and other military equipment were seized in the operations, according to Mr. Bambara.

He said more than 200 people had been arrested in the operations carried out by the National Police and MONUSCO police, while UN mission forces are also intensifying their patrols in the region.

Briefing the UN Security Council in New York last month, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for the DRC and the head of MONUSCO, Martin Kobler, underlined the need for a "proactive, not reactive" response in countering the country's rebel groups and boosting protection for civilians.

Mr. Kobler noted that despite initial hopes that "the seeds of peace" would spread throughout the DRC's eastern regions, recent outbursts of violence in villages in and around the city of Beni in North Kivu reminded the world "just how fragile those hopes can be."

He was referring to a series of massacres committed by ADF rebels between 2 October and 17 October during which they "brutally massacred" over 80 civilians, mostly women and children, with machetes.

At UN Headquarters today, the Security Council is scheduled to take up the DRC this afternoon.

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