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Civilian killings in DR Congo blamed on notorious militia

  • Published at 11:50 am May 17th, 2021
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Violence in North Kivu and Ituri prompted the government in Kinshasa to declare a 'state of siege' in the two provinces

At least 10 civilians were killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo's restive east this week, a local administrator and a rights group said, blaming the violence on the ADF militia.

The killings happened "on Wednesday, May 12, in the villages of Ngaka and Mangundu" in Ituri province, the Kivu Security Tracker group posted on Twitter.

"Local sources suspect the ADF, possibly in coalition with a local group," the KST added.

Idriss Koma Kukodila, the administrator of the Mambasa territory where the attacks took place, told AFP that "young people found 15 decomposing bodies near Ngaka village on Saturday."

"They appear to have been killed in attacks on Thursday and Friday in the village, as well as in neighbouring Lukaya and Makumo," Koma added, saying the Red Cross had buried the remains.

He blamed the ADF for the killings, which took place a few kilometres north of the fighters' usual haunts around the city of Beni in neighbouring North Kivu province.

Citing local civil society sources, UN-run Okapi radio put the toll at 21 since the beginning of last week, with the ADF taking around 50 hostages.

"The military presence in the Mambasa region is weak, and the attackers are capitalizing on that," Koma said, calling for reinforcements and voicing alarm about people fleeing the violence.

A historically Ugandan Islamist group, the ADF is the bloodiest of scores of armed militias that roam the eastern DRC, many of them a legacy of two regional wars in the 1990s.

Violence in North Kivu and Ituri prompted the government in Kinshasa to declare a "state of siege" in the two provinces, placing them under military rule from last week.

Linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS) group according to Washington, the KST says the ADF has killed more than 1,200 civilians in the Beni area alone since 2017.

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