Militants in eastern Congo claim over 80 lives in one week

The death toll has risen to 41 following an attack on Friday by suspected Islamist rebels on villages in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a Congolese army spokesman said, bringing the total deaths in the region to over 80 since Tuesday.

The Friday night attack on the villages of Masala, Mapasana, and Mahini was carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), according to lieutenant-colonel Mak Hazukay, an army spokesman in North Kivu province. The ADF, originating from Uganda and now based in eastern Congo, has pledged allegiance to Islamic State and frequently conducts attacks in the region.

Over the past week, the ADF has been linked to multiple assaults, including one in Masawu that killed 17 people. On Thursday, five bodies were found in Kabweli and Mamulese, and six bodies were recovered from a river in Mununze. On Friday, 13 bodies were found in Makobu, bringing the total number of deaths since Tuesday to 82.

During the attacks, armed men used guns and machetes against residents in Beni territory, local official Fabien Kakule said. Vusindi Nick Junior, a local civil society leader, reported that a health center was set ablaze, and nine people were injured in addition to the 41 killed.

EU foreign affairs spokeswoman Nabila Massrali emphasized the urgent need for a political solution, stating that terrorist groups are exploiting the chaos to expand their influence. Julien Paluku, a former governor of North Kivu, called for the national government to address the insecurity in the east, noting that people feel abandoned. The government has not yet commented on Friday’s attacks.

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