ADF Rebels Kill 18 Civilians, Set Houses Ablaze in Eastern Congo

Insurgents kill 18 Civilians, Set Houses Ablaze in East Congo (News Central TV)

Insurgents suspected to be ADF Rebels have killed at least 18 civilians in a village raid in eastern Congo on Sunday night, while fighting with the M23 rebel group resumed in a neighboring province.

According to a witness, a local chief, and a local human rights group, fighters believed to be from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) killed residents and burned down houses in the village of Otomabere, in Irumu territory, Ituri province.

Congolese army spokesman Jules Ngongo confirmed the ADF attack but did not provide a death toll, saying Congolese forces were on the hunt for the attackers.

“We were chatting with some friends outside (when) we heard gunshots, and everyone fled in a different direction. It was total panic,” said Kimwenza Malembe, a resident of Otomabere.

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“This morning we counted 18 dead, killed by knives and firearms,” he said.

Fighting resumed on Monday in North Kivu province between the Congolese army and the M23, a rebel group claiming to represent the interests of ethnic Tutsis, according to Congo government spokesman Patrick Muyaya.

Meanwhile, The Congolese Government have accused Rwanda of supporting the M23. The group’s resurgence in recent weeks has caused a diplomatic rift between the two neighbours. 

The ADF is a Ugandan militia that established itself in eastern Congo in the 1990s.

According to a United Nations report, the group conducts frequent attacks and killed over 1,300 people between January 2021 and January 2022.

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Uganda has sent at least 1,700 troops to neighboring Congo to assist in the fight against the ADF, and the two countries last week extended their joint operation, which began late last year.

From 2015, the ADF experienced a radicalisation after the imprisonment of its leader Jamil Mukulu and the rise of Musa Baluku in his place. From 2019, the ADF had split, with one part remaining loyal to Mukulu, while the other had merged into the Islamic State’s Central Africa Province under Baluku.

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