As of Wednesday, November 27, tensions remain high in the eastern North Kivu province following days of protests to denounce the perceived failure of the UN peacekeeping force to protect civilians from recent rebel attacks. Protests, which started in Beni on Saturday, November 23, have spread to the regional cities of Goma and Butembo on Tuesday, November 26. Protests continue to be reported in Goma as of Wednesday, where police is reportedly using tear gas to disperse protesters blocking roads across the city.
The situation has prompted authorities to implement an indefinite curfew on Monday, November 25, in Beni and six other areas in the Beni territory, including Mbau, Mavivi, Oicha, Kokola, Maimoya, and Eringeti. The curfew will run from 18:00 (local time) to 06:00.
A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are likely in the province in the coming days. Further protests cannot be ruled out.
At least six people have been killed in recent protests, which erupted following a spate of attacks from suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militants in Beni. According to local civil society activists, at least 70 people have been killed in almost daily attacks since early November, when security operations began to combat ADF fighters started.
The government's limited presence in the DRC's eastern provinces, as well as the presence of numerous armed groups and local self-defense militias, have led to continued insecurity in the area. The ADF is a Ugandan Islamist militant group that has been active in North Kivu province since the late 1990s. There has been local and international speculation regarding potential links between ADF rebels and Islamic State (IS) militants.
Individuals in North Kivu are advised to closely monitor the situation, avoid all protests and large public gatherings due to potential violence, prepare for disruptions to transportation and business in affected areas, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities (e.g. adhere to curfews) and their home governments.
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