Twin attacks by ADF leave 11 dead in DR Congo

At least 11 civilians were killed in two separate attacks near Beni in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Saturday night, according to local authorities. The attacks, blamed on the rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), come amidst ongoing violence in the region.

The first attack took place in Matembo, where six civilians were confirmed dead by Augustin Kapupa, a local official. Kapupa attributed the attack to the ADF, a Ugandan rebel group notorious for civilian massacres since its establishment in eastern DRC in 1995. The group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in 2019.

In the nearby town of Sayo, another attack by suspected ADF rebels left five people dead. Local elder Antoine Kambale expressed grief over the additional loss of life. Beni official Makofi Bukuku warned that the death toll in Sayo could rise as some rebels remain unaccounted for.

Bukuku lamented the continued insecurity despite the presence of Congolese forces, Ugandan troops, and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) peacekeepers. He pointed out a string of deaths and kidnappings exceeding 180 in the past three months.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Matembo civil society leader Germain Kathemika stated that locals had warned the army about the rebel threat for weeks. A joint military operation launched by Ugandan and Congolese forces in late 2021 has seemingly failed to deter the ADF. The Congolese military has yet to comment on the recent attacks.

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