Sat, 29 Feb 2020

At least 6 killed in new east DRC militia attack

News24
23 Jan 2020, 05:41 GMT+10

Six civilians, including a child, were killed in an attack in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday, the army said, in the first assault this year in an area that has suffered multiple massacres.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack near Beni town, but DRC officials blamed the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamist militia with roots in neighbouring Uganda.

"Operations are in progress," army regional spokesperson Mak Hazukay said confirming details of the attack and the army response. "The ADF are in disarray."

Several militias operate in the restive eastern DRC, a bloody legacy of two regional wars in 1990s that dragged in the country's neighbours.

Violence has spiked since the end of October when the DRC army began an offensive against the ADF and the militia responded with a series of massacres against civilians.

The UN said since October 30 suspected ADF fighters killed more than 260 people, mostly women and children, in brutal attacks carried out mainly at night.

The army has said it killed five top ADF commanders and took over the group's base in Beni in January. But it also acknowledged at least 90 soldiers had been killed so far in the offensive.

The massacres have sparked angry protests around Beni where residents say the troops from the UN peacekeeping mission, known as Monusco, have failed to protect them.

An UN assessment said "strengthened cooperation between Monusco and the Congolese Army and Police is critical to sustain the gains made by the Congolese army during this latest offensive".

The ADF began as an Islamist rebellion hostile to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

It retreated back into eastern DRC in 1995 and appears to have halted raids inside Uganda while recruiting fighters of various nationalities.

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