Northeastern Congo 3 students sitting exams wounded in explosion

Eastern Congo contains dozens of armed groups that prey on locals and exploit mineral reserves.

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Sources say three students sitting exams were wounded in an explosion at a school on Thursday in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

A hospital source said at least three student were injured in the blast.

Residents also reported exchanges of heavy fire between the army and militia fighters.

Local activist Teddy Kataliko said that the fighting in and around the city of Beni between Congo’s army and what is believed to be a new coalition of armed groups, the National Movement of Revolutionaries (MNR), erupted about 7:30 a.m. and kept residents trapped in their homes.

Gilbert Kambale, another local activist, said that the bodies of three militia fighters were lying on the street, not far from the mayor’s office.

An army spokesman in the zone said: “The situation is not good,” but declined to comment further.

The fighting followed a breakout by more than 900 inmates, many suspected militiamen, from Beni’s main prison, one of a series of mass jailbreaks that has underlined the security situation further since President Joseph Kabila refused to step down at the end of his constitutional mandate in December.

Kataliko and Kambale also said unidentified assailants set off an explosive device at a local secondary school, wounding several students sitting for exams.

Eastern Congo contains dozens of armed groups that prey on locals and exploit mineral reserves.

Millions died there between 1996 and 2003 in a regional conflict from violence, hunger and disease.

NAN reports that the UN Security Council on Wednesday extended its arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban on the Democratic Republic of the Congo until 1 July 2018.

Council also expanded those sanctions to cover individuals and entities engaging in or providing support for

acts that included planning, directing, sponsoring or participating in attacks against the UN Organiaation

Stabiliaation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) peacekeepers, including members of the

Group of Experts.

Unanimously adopting resolution 2360 (2017) under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the Council extended the

mandate of the Group of Experts assisting the Sanctions Committee through Aug. 1, 2018.

Members also decided to extend by two months, to Aug. 15, the deadline for the Group’s final report, given the

extraordinary circumstances under which it was operating, including the killing of two of its members in the

Kasaï region in March.

By the text, the Council requested that the Group of Experts gather, examine and analyse information regarding

perpetrators of serious violations of international humanitarian law, and of human rights violations and abuses,

including those within the national security forces.

Members Strongly condemned all armed groups operating in the region and their violations of humanitarian and

human rights laws and demanded that the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and others cease immediately all violence, including the exploitation of natural resources, and that their members immediately and permanently disband, lay down their arms and liberate and demobilize all children from their ranks.

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