Africa

Rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo launch deadly raid, kidnap 17

One person was killed and 17 were kidnapped in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo late Monday, September 24 in a raid blamed on a notorious Ugandan militia accused of a massacre in a regional city two days earlier, sources said.

The new attack took place in the town of Oicha, around 30 kilometres (18 miles) south of Beni, where 21 people were killed on Saturday by men wielding machetes and firing guns.

Authorities are blaming both attacks on the Allied Democratic Forces, a militia rooted in Ugandan Islamism that has killed hundreds of people in North Kivu province since 2014.

In addition to the deaths and abductions in Ocha, four houses were burned down and chickens and goats taken away, local administrator Donat Kibwana told AFP.

“The situation in Oicha is paralyzed,” Kibwana said, explaining that most shops and schools were closed.

Foreign humanitarian workers have been stationed in Beni, in North Kivu province near the border with Uganda, since early August to deal with a new Ebola outbreak in the region.

Local anger surged after the latest attacks, directed at failures by the authorities to curb the violence.

“Enough is enough,” said Beni’s bishop, Sikuli Paluku.

“How is it that even with the presence and large-scale deployment in the region of Democratic Republic of Congo’s armed forces and with the massive presence of the U.N. mission in Congo … we cannot end this curse?”

Civil groups in Beni on Monday launched a five-day “ghost town” protest, in which storekeepers were asked to haul down their shutters.

In the district of Ruwenzori, mayor Aloys Mbwarara said demonstrators had “burned down [government] offices” in the Boikene and Kasabinyole neighborhoods.

The provinces of North and South Kivu lie in a border region that has been prey to war and lower-level conflict since 1994.

North Kivu, one of the most populated areas of the DRC, is home to a number of armed groups that kill or abduct civilians.

Beni city in North Kivu province was the site of a massacre in 2016 in which at least 64 people were killed. The attack was blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces.

The ADF is a militia initially created by Muslim rebels to oppose Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, but also operates in the DRC.

The group has been in the east of the country since 1995 and are accused by the United Nations and Congolese authorities of committing a series of civilian massacres since 2014.

The ADF was also blamed for an attack in North Kivu in December in which 15 Tanzanian U.N. peacekeepers and five Congolese soldiers were killed.


With reporting from AFP

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