At least 14 civilians died on Friday in a new attack attributed to rebels of Ugandan origin from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as civil society activists have confirmed to EFE. On Thursday, at least eight other people were killed and three wounded in an explosion at a bar in a military camp in the city of Gumin the province of North Kivu, in the northeast of the country.
The assault took place on Friday against the town of Otomaberein the territory of Irumuwhich is part of Ituri province, explained by telephone Christophe Munyanderudirector of the Convention for the Respect of Human Rights (CRDH), a local organization.
“ADF militiamen killed 14 civilians. Some were killed with machetes and others to gunshots. The ADF burned in total thirteen bikes before burning too housesMunyanderu said. In March, 20 people were killed in another Allied Forces Democratic (AFD) attack.
Due to the violence, the inhabitants of Otomabere fled to neighboring villages, said the activist.
State of siege since last year
“Since last year, our two provinces are under a state of siege but nothing has changed, although there are two armies, from the FARDC (Armed Forces of the DRC) and from Uganda fighting the rebels,” Munyanderu complained.
The activist was referring to the state of siege imposed by the authorities in Ituri and the neighboring province of North Kivu since May 2021 due to the increase in rebel attacks, as well as the joint operation launched on November 30 by Kampala. and Kinshasa to defeat the ADF.
ADFs are a rebel group of Ugandan origin, but are currently based in the northeast of the DRC, near the border that this country shares with Uganda.
1,260 people killed in 2021
According to the Office of UN High Commissioner for the Human rights (OHCHR), the ADF were responsible for some 1,260 deaths in 2021, becoming the most lethal armed group in the DRC.
In addition, the Ugandan authorities accused the ADF of organizing three suicide attacks within their territory in November 2021.
However, the objectives of this militia are diffuse beyond a possible link with the terrorist organization Islamic State (ISIS), which sometimes claims responsibility for its attacks.
Terrorist organization linked to ISIS
Although UN Security Council experts found no evidence of direct ISIS support for the ADF, USA identifies since March 2021 these rebels as “a terrorist organization” affiliated with the jihadist group.
With the aim of neutralizing the ADF, the Armies of the DRC and Uganda began at the end of November 2021 a military operation on Congolese soil that is still ongoing.
But the director of the peace mission of the UN in the DRC (MONUSCO), Bintou Keitarecognized at the end of March in a speech before the UN Security Council that, despite these military operations, the number of civilian victims and population displacements have increased.
Keita blamed this “deterioration of the security situation”, above all, “on the bloody reprisals by the ADF against the population of North Kivu and Ituri”.
Since 1998, the east of the DRC has been mired in a conflict fueled by rebel militias and attacks by Army soldiers, despite the presence of MONUSCO, with more than 14,000 troops.
The absence of stable alternatives and methods of subsistence have pushed thousands of Congolese to take up arms and, according to the Kivu Security Barometer (KST), this region is a battlefield for more than a hundred of rebel groups
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.