Inside DRC

Congo police detain at least four activists protesting massacres

A man accused by the Congolese Army of being a spy of  rebels of the M23 movement is tied and taken away on July 16, 2013 in Munigi on the outskirts of Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The army in the Democratic Republic of Congo on July 16 pursued an offensive against rebels of the M23 movement to protect the North Kivu provincial capital of Goma. M23, a movement launched by Tutsi defectors from the army who accuse the Kinshasa government of reneging on a 2009 peace deal, last year occupied Goma for 10 days before pulling out under international pressure.  AFP PHOTO/PHIL MOORE        (Photo credit should read PHIL MOORE/AFP/Getty Images)

Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo briefly detained at least four people on Saturday protesting the failure of government and U.N. forces to prevent repeated massacres, the United Nations said.

Over 500 people have been killed in dozens of raids near the northeastern town of Beni since October 2014. The government and United Nations have blamed almost all of the attacks on a Ugandan Islamist rebel group, though analysts say others, including some Congolese army soldiers, are also involved.

About 15 people were protesting peacefully outside the U.N. peacekeeping mission’s headquarters in the eastern city of Goma when police violently dispersed them with batons, said Jose Maria Aranaz, director of the U.N. human rights office in Congo.

Four were arrested and three injured, he told Reuters.

The protest group said on Twitter that seven of its members and a journalist had been arrested but were released a few hours later. The provincial police commander was not immediately available for comment.

Dozens of protesters have been arrested since last year. The United Nations and rights groups say the arrests are part of a growing crackdown on dissent ahead of a controversial presidential election scheduled for November.

The government denies those charges.

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