(8) Increasing Satanic Influence (5), Lawlessness, Violence and Homicide (3): At least 20 (5+5+5+5) killed in two attacks eastern DR Congo by ADF militia. 10 (5+5) people were also kidnapped. 15 (5+5+5) structures “a Catholic church and 14 houses were burned down.” Over six (6) people were killed in the city of Beni and an estimated 14 or 15 were killed near Oicha. At least 60 (6) people have been killed by the ADF. All this sits in the heart of DR Congo’s Ebola zone
AFP•November 20, 2019
Goma (DR Congo) (AFP) – At least 10 civilians were killed in two attacks by militia gunmen in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where government forces have vowed to root out armed groups, sources said Wednesday.
Over six (6) people were killed in the city of Beni and between and an estimated 14 or 15 were killed near Oicha, 30 kilometres (18 miles) away, according to the UN radio Okapi, which quoted the military, and local civil society.
The attacks late Tuesday were blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militia of Ugandan origin targeted by an army campaign to restore peace to DR Congo’s troubled east.
Around 10 people were also kidnapped, sources in the local NGOs said.
In Oicha, 15 structures “a Catholic church and 14 houses were burned down,” said civil society worker Teddy Kataliko.
“There’s been non-stop firing of heavy- and light-calibre weapons,” a Catholic cleric in Beni told AFP during the night. “I don’t know if we are going to get out alive.”
At least 60 people have been killed by the ADF since the offensive in North Kivu province began on October 30, according to a toll compiled by AFP.
Commentators see the massacres as warnings to the local population against collaborating with government forces.
Beni, a trading hub of around 100,000 (5+5) people, lies in an area that has long been troubled by the ADF.
It also sits in the heart of DR Congo’s Ebola zone, and is the site of a base used by the UN’s peacekeeping force.
DR Congo’s Nobel peace prize laureate Denis Mukwege on Wednesday called for France and EU to provide military support to help stop civilian massacres.
“We are urging the European Union and France in particular to consider sending elite troops… to protect the civilian population of Beni against terrorism,” Mukwege said in a statement.
Mukwege was joint winner of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for his work helping victims of sexual violence committed in the conflict-ridden eastern DR Congo.
He called for a similar mission to the 2003 Operation Artemis, which saw EU troops deployed under French command to stop massacres in the neighbouring DR Congo province of Ituri.
– Local anger –
The latest attacks sparked an exodus in the Beni district of Boikene and in the Mavete district of Oichi.
Protests erupted against poor security, and members of the UN peacekeeping force, MONUSCO, were advised not to go out on the streets of Beni.
The force’s base is at the airport, around 10 (5+5) kilometres (six 6 miles) from the city centre.
Kataliko said the authorities had been tipped off by local people as early as last Friday about the presence of armed men near Oicha.
“The public are afraid of the ADF infiltrating towns in the region,” he said. “You can sense when they are in the town. They are in disguise.”
Anger has been building since the start of the army’s campaign over the choice of tactics.
The offensive has focussed on the area around Beni rather than on the so-called “triangle of death” farther north around Oicha, where the ADF has its reputed stronghold.
The ADF’s historical roots lie in Islamist Ugandans opposed to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
The group has plagued the North Kivu region bordering Uganda since the Congo Wars in the 1990s, although its membership has since broadened to non-Ugandans and it has not carried out an attack on Uganda for years.
Hundreds of deaths have been attributed to the shadowy organisation since 2015 (over the past 5 years).
The so-called Islamic State group has claimed some of the attacks ascribed to the ADF this year, but there is no clear evidence of any affiliation between the two groups.
Categories: Update of Lawlessness and Violence