13 killed in DR Congo attacks blamed on ADF militia

13 killed in DR Congo attacks blamed on ADF militia

The new deaths brings the number of civilians killed by armed groups in Beni since November 2019 to at least 1,013.
The new deaths brings the number of civilians killed by armed groups in Beni since November 2019 to at least 1,013.

BENI (DR CONGO): Thirteen people have died in attacks in the eastern DR Congo region of Beni, local officials and experts said on Wednesday, blaming a notorious militia called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

ADF men attacked the village of Kisima late Tuesday, "leaving 11 dead," said Bozi Sindiwako, the chief official for the Rwenzori area in North Kivu province.

That toll was confirmed by US-based monitoring group, the Kivu Security Tracker (KST).

The army also said there was an attack, without giving the number of casualties.

"Clean-up operations continue in the area," Beni army spokesman Antony Mwalushay said.

In a separate attack overnight, two people -- a civilian and a soldier -- were killed in the North Kivu city of Oicha, its mayor Nicolas Kikuku said. He added that an ADF fighter was also killed.

The new deaths brings the number of civilians killed by armed groups in Beni since November 2019 to at least 1,013, KST told AFP.

The army has been carrying out a military offensive against the group since October 2019.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, a central African country the size of continental western Europe, has been plagued by militia violence in its east for more than a quarter of a century.

In a report published on Monday, KST said 122 armed groups are active in the country's four eastern provinces -- North and South Kivu as well as Ituri and Tanganyika.

The most notorious group in North Kivu is the ADF, whose stronghold lies in the Beni area, near the Ugandan border.

Originally Ugandan Muslim rebels, the ADF settled in the DRC in 1995 and in recent years they have given up on attacks in neighbouring Uganda.

The military offensive has scattered the group, which now operates in small, mobile groups, according to a recent report by UN experts.

After a brief lull in activity, ADF attacks have been ramping up since the start of February.

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