At Least 50 Dead In Two Attacks In Eastern DR Congo

In this file photo taken on February 18, 2020 An Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) soldier takes part in a foot patrol in the village of Manzalaho near Beni, following an attack allegedly perpetrated by members of the rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
In this file photo taken on February 18, 2020, An Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) soldier takes part in a foot patrol in the village of Manzalaho near Beni, following an attack allegedly perpetrated by members of the rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). Alexis Huguet / AFP

 

 

At least 50 people were killed overnight in two new attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s deeply troubled east, monitors said Monday.

A local official blamed the notorious ADF militia, which has been linked to the Islamic State group, but others said the attacks may have been ethnic in origin.

Citing a provisional toll, the Kivu Security Tracker (KST) said 28 people had been killed in Boga and 22 in Tchabi, villages lying about 10 kilometres (six miles) apart in an area known for Allied Democratic Forces attacks and community friction.

The respected monitor said this was the highest death toll it had recorded in a single day since it was founded in 2017. It had earlier given a tally for the attacks of 39 dead.

One community leader said children and the elderly were among the victims.

The DRC army gave a slightly higher provisional toll of 53 after a meeting of security forces in Bunia, the capital of Ituri province where the attacks took place. Local MP Gracien Iracan spoke of 60 dead.

“Seven trucks arrived to remove the victims — it’s a dramatic situation,” Iracan told AFP.

“They’re still finding bodies, so the toll is likely to grow,” he added, while “many wounded people are still hiding in the bush, everyone fled there”.

A UN source told AFP that South African blue helmets from the MONUSCO peacekeeping mission’s small base in Tchabi had exchanged fire with the attackers when they tried to intervene.

A local civil society leader attributed the attacks to the ADF, a historically Ugandan Islamist group blamed for a string of massacres in the past 18 months.

The two villages lie on the border between North Kivu and Ituri provinces in an area where the ADF is believed to be active.

In this file photo taken on February 18, 2020, An Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) soldier takes part in a foot patrol in the village of Manzalaho near Beni, 2020, following an attack allegedly perpetrated by members of the rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). (Photo by Alexis Huguet / AFP)

‘Targeted’ assault

Lawmaker Iracan said that “a very large number of attackers showed up. The assault was well targeted, they killed two local leaders. We can’t rule out that they were settling scores,” he added.

The KST said the wife of a traditional leader in Benyali-Tchabi had been killed in the attack on Tchabi.

Two local officials reached in Boga by AFP said the assailants had attacked a camp for displaced people.

They said 36 bodies had been found so far in Boga, a figure that has yet to be independently confirmed.

Those same officials also cautioned against immediately blaming the ADF, given the ethnic conflicts in the region.

Suspicions that the violence was ethnically motivated stem from the fact that the displaced people’s camp in Boga mostly hosted displaced people from the Nyali group — but a nearby site housing Banyabwisha people was spared.

“We think it was the same group” behind the attacks on both villages, the head of the Nyali community in Tchabi told AFP by phone.

“They attacked around 1:00 am. There are children and the very old among the dead… at the moment we’re preparing to bury them,” he added.

Military government

The ADF is the deadliest of an estimated 122 armed militias that roam the mineral-rich east of the DRC, many of them a legacy of two regional wars that ran from 1996 to 2003.

As of Friday, the KST estimated that at least 1,228 civilians have been killed in the Beni territory of North Kivu alone since November 2019, when DRC forces launched a crackdown that splintered the ADF into smaller groups.

Three other attacks since last Tuesday, blamed on the ADF, have claimed 39 lives.

On March 11, the United States said the ADF was linked to IS, which is also known by the acronym ISIS. The ADF was called ISIS-DRC, or Madina at Tauheed Wau Mujahedeen.

DRC President Felix Tshisekedi on May 6 proclaimed a 30-day “state of siege” in North Kivu and Ituri in a bid to curb bloodshed by the ADF.

Under the move, military and police officers have taken over from civilian authorities.

AFP

Five Killed In Northeastern DR Congo Attack

 

 

Five people were killed and nine others were wounded in an attack in the northeastern Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, authorities said Thursday.

The attack started on Wednesday night and continued into the early hours north of the provincial capital Bunia, an area which saw 160 civilians killed in June clashes between militias.

“This is an incursion of armed men in the village of Loku, in Djugu territory,” regional administrator Adel Alingi said.

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“The provisional record shows five people were killed, nine were wounded and the men took valuable goods”.

The attackers were “armed with knives and firearms”, he added.

It is still not known who carried out the attack, but it was attributed to a military-religious sect named Codeco.

Authorities and communities have been reluctant to talk about a revival of a communal conflict between Lendu farmers and Hema breeders which killed tens of thousands of people between 1999 and 2003 in Ituri.

The UN refugee agency has said instability has forced more than 300,000 people to flee their homes in the DRC, with people especially escaping unrest in the Djugu territory, near the border with Uganda.

Congo Militia Chief ‘Morgan’ Killed In Army Firefight

DR CongoPaul Sadala, a poacher-turned-militia leader known as “Morgan”, accused of kidnap, rape and cannibalism in Democratic Republic of Congo was killed on Monday alongside four other people during a firefight as he sought to escape his army captors, the government said.

Morgan, who operated in Congo’s Orientale province, surrendered on Saturday with around 40 of his followers.

A government spokesman, Lambert Mende, told Reuters that Morgan was being brought by the army to the town of Bunia when he attacked the soldiers escorting him.

“He caused a shootout which resulted in the deaths of two army soldiers and two of his own men. He tried to flee but suffered a serious injury,” he said.

Mende said that Morgan was taken by helicopter for treatment but died on the way from excessive bleeding.

Morgan has repeatedly attacked populations in the Okapi Fauna Reserve, a World Heritage site, since 2012.

U.N. experts said in December he switched his focus from poaching elephants to attacking gold mines.

They accuse him and his men of kidnapping people to carry looted goods and of forcing women into being sexual slaves for militia members.

Morgan’s militia is just one part of a complex and deadly network of armed groups in Congo’s lawless east. Most of these groups finance their operations by competing for control of Congo’s vast deposits of minerals, including gold, diamonds, tin, copper and coltan.