By Spy Uganda Correspondent
At least eight civilians have been killed in attacks by ADF rebels fleeing a Congolese-Ugandan military operation against them in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a colonel and activist said Friday.
“As they fled the joint Congolese-Ugandan operation, ADF fighters killed three civilians in Mahu” village Thursday, Colonel Matadi Munyapande, a military commander in the eastern province of Ituri, said.
In the village of Lukaya, “they ambushed a truck and killed five civilians”, he said.
There had been attacks in other villages, but it was not immediately clear if there had been casualties, he added.
Mambo Ndungo, a member of civil society in Ituri’s town of Mambasa, put the death toll of attacks in surrounding villages much higher.
He said five had been killed in Mahu, five more in Lukaya, five in Ilimba, and five in Mausi. In the village of Mikwata, “three bodies have been found”, he added.
All five villages are less than 10 kilometres away from Mambasa.
The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) was historically a Ugandan rebel coalition whose biggest group comprised Muslims opposed to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
But it established itself in eastern DRC in 1995, becoming the deadliest of scores of outlawed forces in the troubled region.
It has been blamed for the killings of thousands of civilians over the past decade in the DRC, as well as for bombings in Uganda.
On November 30, with the Congolese side’s approval, the army of neighbouring Uganda launched artillery and air strikes against alleged ADF positions in DRC’s Virunga National Park in North Kivu, and Ugandan troops crossed the border shortly afterwards.
Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi placed the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri under a “state of siege” in May to intensify the battle against the rebels, with soldiers replacing civil servants in key positions.