A rebel soldier in the DRC. Picture: REUTERS
A rebel soldier in the DRC. Picture: REUTERS

Beni  —  At least 22 people were killed in an overnight raid in North Kivu province  in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a region that is plagued by rebel attacks, local authorities said on Tuesday.

The militants struck late on Monday, killing residents of Mwenda village with machetes and guns, its civil society representative Jeremi Mbweki said.

He blamed the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan rebel group that has emerged as the most lethal militia in DRC's eastern region. The ADF is suspected of hacking to death people in a nearby village last week. According to local leader Bravo Muhindo at least 30 people were killed in that attack. An unknown number were kidnapped.

“Now we live in total fear, with no certainty about the future,” Mbweki said by phone. The administrator of Beni territory, Donat Kibwana, confirmed the death toll and said the ADF was responsible.

More than 1,000 civilians were killed in attacks attributed to the ADF in 2019 and 2020, according to UN figures, despite repeated offensives by the army and UN peacekeepers against the group over the past decade.

Nine more bodies were discovered on Monday in another village in the area — also victims of an alleged ADF attack, Kibwana said.

DRC's eastern border areas with Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi have been ravaged by attacks by militias, many formed of remnants of groups that fought in civil wars around the turn of the century.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for many suspected ADF attacks in the past, though UN experts said last week that they have been unable to confirm any direct link between the two groups.



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