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Suspected Islamists in eastern Congo kill more than 80 in a week

During the attacks on Friday evening, armed men used guns and machetes to attack residents of the villages in Beni territory, local official Fabien Kakule told Reuters.
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 01:42 IST
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 01:42 IST

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Democratic Republic of Congo: The death toll has risen to 41 following an attack on Friday by suspected Islamist rebels on villages in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a Congolese army spokesman said, bringing the total toll in the region to more than 80 since Tuesday.

Friday night's attack, on the villages of Masala, Mapasana and Mahini, had been carried out by members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), said lieutenant-colonel Mak Hazukay, an army spokesman in Congo's North Kivu province.

The ADF, which is now based in eastern Congo, has pledged allegiance to Islamic State and mounts frequent attacks, further destabilising a region where many militant groups are active.

It originates from neighbouring Uganda and is alleged to be behind multiple assaults in the area over the past week, including one in the village of Masawu that killed 17 people, two civil society leaders said.

On Thursday, five bodies were found in the villages of Kabweli and Mamulese, according to Justin Kavalami, a civil society member who helped search for bodies. The same day, six bodies were recovered from a river in the village of Mununze, that village's chief said.

On Friday, 13 bodies were found in the village of Makobu, a civil society leader and the village chief said, bringing the total number of people killed by suspected ADF militants since Tuesday to 82.

It was not possible to reach the ADF for comment.

'CHAOS'

During the attacks on Friday evening, armed men used guns and machetes to attack residents of the villages in Beni territory, local official Fabien Kakule told Reuters.

Vusindi Nick Junior, a local civil society leader, said a local health centre had been set ablaze and nine people were injured in addition to the 41 killed.

"Several dozen civilians have been victims of the ADF in eastern DRC in recent days," said EU foreign affairs spokeswoman Nabila Massrali, adding there was an urgent need to accelerate efforts to find a political solution.

"Terrorist groups are taking advantage of the chaos to expand their hold on an already very unstable region," she said.

Julien Paluku, a former governor of North Kivu, said on X that Congo's national government needed to do more to address insecurity in the east. The government has not yet made any statement on Friday's attacks, and a government spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

"People have the impression, rightly or wrongly, of being abandoned to their sad fate," he said.

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Published 10 June 2024, 01:42 IST

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