Joint Military Forces Sleeping On Job As ADF Rebels Massacre 38 In Latest Attack On Eastern Congo Villages

Joint Military Forces Sleeping On Job As ADF Rebels Massacre 38 In Latest Attack On Eastern Congo Villages

By Spy Uganda Correspondent

Suspected Islamist rebels killed at least 38 people in an overnight attack on villages in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, two district officials and a civil society leader said on Saturday.

Local civil society leader Justin Kavalami blamed members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) for the attack.

The ADF, alleged to be behind another village assault that killed at least 16 people earlier this week, originates from neighbouring Uganda.

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Now based in eastern Congo, it has pledged allegiance to Islamic State and mounts frequent attacks, further destabilising a region where many militant groups are active.

Armed men used guns and machetes to attack residents of villages in Beni territory, in North Kivu province, overnight on Friday, local official Fabien Kakule told the press.

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District official Leon Kakule Siviwe said the death toll stood at 38 and said the recent surge in violence was due to the attackers taking advantage of a low security presence.

They came to “slaughter the population when there were no soldiers in place,” he told the press.

Decades of conflict between the army and myriad rebel groups has destabilised eastern Congo and fuelled a long-running humanitarian crisis.

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Attacks intensified last year and the number of people displaced stood at nearly 5.7 million as of end-2023, according to the U.N. humanitarian agency OCHA.

The attack come amidst scaled up operations by Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in the DR Congo which were deployed in December last to support the Government of the DRC to restore peace and security in the eastern DRC.

SADC replaced the East African Community Regional Forces (EACRF) whose contingents were deployed in North Kivu and Ituri at the end of 2022 to combat armed groups principally the M23.

Meanwhile, Eastern DR Congo is also under close watch of the Operation Shujaa an ongoing military offensive conducted by the DR Congo army and Uganda’s UPDF  against insurgent forces in Kivu and Ituri, mainly Islamic State (IS) affiliates and ADF.

Launched in November 2021, the operation has resulted in significant losses for the targeted rebel forces and substantially reduced their activity but has also failed to end the constant attacks on Eastern DR Congo’s volatile region.

DRC has witnessed an increase in conflicts and instability caused by the resurgence of armed groups which have claimed thousands of lives in recent months.

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