BENI: Ten people were killed overnight in the eastern DR Congo city of Beni by suspected members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) Islamist militia, the army said Thursday.
“Overnight there was an attack by ADF enemies. We lost around 10 civilians,” lieutenant Anthony Mualushayi told AFP. An AFP correspondent saw 10 bodies in the morgue of Beni’s general hospital.The attack took place in the southeastern Rwangoma. Local residents, still in a state of shock, were too afraid to speak to AFP, but angry young people paraded through the streets with one of the bodies, shouting anti-government slogans.
The ADF is the deadliest of an estimated 122 armed militias that roam the mineral-rich east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, many of them a legacy of two regional wars from 1996 to 2003.
According to a tally compiled by the DRC’s Catholic church, the ADF has been responsible for at least 6,000 deaths since 2013.
The Kivu Security Tracker (KST) monitor says the ADF, an Islamist group originally from Uganda, has killed more than 1,200 civilians in the Beni area alone since 2017.
On March 10, the US State Department branded the ADF a “foreign terrorist organisation” and said its leader Musa Baluku had pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State (IS) group.
But experts are still unsure about the extent of links between the ADF and IS, which has lost most of its territory in the Middle East but is expanding in Africa.President Felix Tshisekedi on May 6 proclaimed a “state of siege” in North Kivu and neighbouring Ituri province in a bid to curb bloodshed by the ADF.
Under this, senior civilian officials have been replaced by army officers.