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Seven UN peacekeepers killed in fight against DRC rebels

Since October 2014, ADF rebels have been accused of killing more than 1,500 people in the Beni region.

UN investigators have blamed the ADF for carrying out the deadliest single assault on the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC in almost 25 years.

That attack on December 7, 2017 at a base in Semuliki near Beni killed at least 15 Tanzanian peacekeepers, wounded 43 others and left one peacekeeper missing.

In recent attacks, ADF rebels have also killed civilians and abducted children in the Beni region.

The rebel attacks have forced suspension of crucial efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in some areas.

Peter Salama, the emergencies chief for the World Health Organization, predicted earlier this week that the outbreak, which has killed more than 200 people, would last at least another six months.

He said makeshift health facilities offering both traditional and modern treatment have become "major drivers" of the current, deadly transmission and are believed to be linked to more than half of the cases in Beni, the largest city affected by the current outbreak.

Salama said the current Ebola outbreak is "arguably the most difficult context that we've ever encountered", pointing to activities of two armed rebel groups in the region.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on all armed groups to stop "their destabilising activities" and "disarm immediately", Dujarric said.

He also urged DRC authorities to apprehend and bring to justice the perpetrators of attacks against civilians, national security forces and UN peacekeepers, the spokesperson added.

Guterres gave strong backing to peacekeepers from Malawi and Tanzania "who continue to operate in an exceptionally difficult environment to protect local populations against the attacks of the ADF and other armed groups," Dujarric said.

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