At least eight civilians including relatives of soldiers were killed in an overnight incursion by armed men in the volatile eastern DR Congo, the army said Tuesday, January 8.
“Eight people [were] killed including four family members of soldiers” in the commune of Mavivi in the north of the Beni region, regional army spokesperson Mak Hazukay told AFP. Police put the death toll at 10, after initially reporting eight.
The Beni region has been the target of attacks since October 2014 by the Allied Democratic Forces. The Allied Democratic Forces militia was created in 1995 by Ugandan Muslim rebels to oppose the government led by President Yoweri Museveni who was seen as hostile to Muslims after they were forced out of Uganda by the army.
It operates in the border area in the DRC’s North Kivu province, an area where other armed groups are also active. The government has often blamed the ADF for killings, robberies and kidnappings, but numerous other armed groups operate in the region and sometimes it is unclear who the true assailants are.
The ADF is thought to have killed at least 700 civilians and more than 20 United Nations peacekeepers.
The Democratic Republic of Congo army and troops deployed with the U.N. peacekeeping mission Monusco began an operation against the group in mid-November. Eight U.N. peacekeepers and 12 DRC troops died in a clash with ADF militants near Kididiwe during the joint operation.
The ADF was blamed for the deaths of 17 people who were killed in two attacks in Beni region on December 7 and for killing nine people in an attack in Oicha on December 11.
Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo on December 30 were cancelled in Beni, officially because of insecurity and the ongoing Ebola epidemic in the region.
With reporting from AFP