Funerals were held on Saturday for six Malawian United Nations peacekeepers killed earlier this week in clashes with militias in Congolese eastern city of Beni. The UN flag covered the coffins for the six UN peacekeepers from Malawi, who along with one UNpeacekeeper from Tanzania and twelve Congolese soldiers, died on Wednesday during a joint operation against the Ugandan Islamist group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

On Friday, mortar bombs were fired at UN peacekeeping base in Beni and gunfire could be heard, an area which has seen a surge in fighting with rebel groups. A few houses in a village near the U.N. base were torched by insurgents.

Eastern Congo has been plagued by banditry and armed insurrections for more than two decades since the fall of military ruler Mobutu Sese Seko, but the past year has seen a surge in violence around North Kivu.

Beni is the epicentre of the region's Ebola epidemic and efforts to control the outbreak - the worst in Congo's history with over 300 infected and two-thirds of those killed - have been hampered by insecurity.