Islamist rebels kill at least 15 civilians in DR Congo
Kinshasa, Jan 30 (EFE).- A wave of rebel attacks in an eastern province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has killed at least 15 people, according to a civil society official.
The Islamic State-affiliated Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group has been blamed for Sunday’s attacks in the Ituru province villages of Ofay, Manyala, Kahachini, and Bandesende.
Civil society official Dieudonne Malangayi said ADF fighters stormed villages in the Walese Vonkutu chiefdom and “executed civilians using sharp weapons and firearms.”
The UN-supported radio Okapi reported the victims included 10 women and a toddler.
In Bandisende, the security forces killed two rebel fighters and recovered weapons from them, the broadcaster said.
Malangayi urged the Congolese army to launch an “offensive against the enemy.”
The attack occurred after a similar assault by the rebel group on Jan.22 left at least 23 dead in the neighboring North Kivu province.
The Ituri and North Kivu provinces have been under military rule for almost two years.
The ADF is a rebel group of Ugandan origin but currently has its bases in North Kivu and Ituri, bordering Uganda.
The Ugandan authorities accuse the group of organizing attacks inside its territory, including two suicide bombings in Kampala in November 2021.
The DRC and Uganda began a joint military operation on Congolese soil in November 2021 to neutralize the Islamist rebel group.
The Ugandan government told the parliament earlier this month that “Operation Shujaa” led to the killing of 424 fighters of the group in 2022.
However, a United Nations report in December said the military operation had not prevented the strengthening of the insurgents, who continued to expand their area of operations.
Since 1998, eastern DRC has been mired in a conflict fueled by rebel militias and the army.
The UN has a mission in the DRC with 16,000 uniformed personnel on the ground. EFE