According to a military spokesman, clashes between suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels and a joint force made up of the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) and peacekeepers from the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) continue around the town of Beni (North Kivu) as of Friday, November 16. Heavy explosions were heard in the morning (local time); authorities have forbidden all travel to the Mayangose and Nyaleke areas of the region until further notice. The evening before, suspected ADF rebels attacked the village of Mambaniké, killing five people and setting fire to eight houses.
This joint security operation has been ongoing for the past few days; at least eight peacekeepers and 12 Congolese soldiers have been killed since November 14. Another ten UN soldiers were wounded and at least one soldier is missing as of November 16. Further clashes between security forces and ADF rebels are possible in the Beni area and elsewhere in North Kivu province in the near-term.
The ADF is a Ugandan Islamist militant group that has been active in North Kivu province since the late 1990s. Notably, the group is suspected of having carried out an attack on UN peacekeepers in Beni territory (North Kivu province) in December 2017, killing at least 15 peacekeepers and wounding some 53 others. In general, the Congolese government's limited presence in the eastern provinces, including in North Kivu, as well as the presence of numerous armed groups (such as the ADF) and local self-defense militias (Maï-Maï militias) have led to major security issues in the area.
Individuals in North Kivu province, particularly those in Beni, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for violent activity, avoid any public demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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