Attack In DR Congo Claims 23 Deaths by Suspected Islamists
A spokesman for the Congolese army in the area reported 24 fatalities and 10 missing. Local officials reported Monday that the latest violence in the tumultuous region, which the Islamic State group has claimed to control, has claimed at least 23 lives in eastern DR Congo.
According to local civil society leader Roger Wangeve, the incident happened late on Sunday in the village of Makugwe in the Beni region of North Kivu province. Wangeve estimated the dead toll at 24.
He claimed that the ADF executed 17 persons who were drinking beer at a small tavern by surprise.
A spokesman for the Congolese army in the area reported 24 fatalities and 10 missing.
Wangeve claimed that the militants also kidnapped a number of residents and took them into the jungle while looting and torching a number of the village’s homes and businesses.
23 people were slain and three others are missing, according to provincial deputy Saidi Balikwisha, who was in Makugwe at the time of the attack.
To better prepare for armed attacks, he advocated for a stronger military presence in the region.
On Monday, IS claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming that its militants invaded Makugwe and set numerous homes on fire. IS has identified the ADF as its central African affiliate.
The number of assault fatalities could not be reliably verified by AFP.
Soldiers were “in search of the enemy,” who, according to the Congolese military administrator of Beni territory, Colonel Charles Omeonga, who spoke to AFP, were allegedly hiding among the local populace.
In the volatile eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been beset by militia conflict for decades, the ADF is one of the deadliest groups.
The ADF has been charged with carrying out terrorist attacks in Uganda and killing thousands of civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The ADF was officially connected to IS in 2021, and the US added it to its list of foreign terrorist organizations.
An explosion in a church in North Kivu on January 15 by alleged ADF agents resulted in at least 14 fatalities and 63 injuries.
In an effort to stop the bloodshed, Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi declared North Kivu and the neighboring Ituri province to be under “state of siege” in 2021. Civilian administrations were replaced with military and police forces.
That same year, the DRC and Uganda jointly started an effort to expel the ADF from their strongholds in the Congo, but the measures have so far been ineffective in stopping the group’s attacks.