Rebels killed at least 11 people and abducted 15 others, including 10 children, in an overnight raid near Beni, near Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern border with Uganda, security sources said on Sunday, October 21.
Police recovered the bodies of 11 civilians killed in the town of Matete north of Beni, he said, adding that the missing children were from five to 10 years old, Beni police chief Colonel Safari Kazingufu told AFP.
The attack, thought to have been carried out by members of the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces, had targeted Beni, the regional army spokesperson Captain Mak Hazukay told AFP.
“We repulsed the attack but unfortunately, there were deaths among the civilians and soldiers,” he said, without specifying how many soldiers had been killed.
One local resident told AFP he had seen the bodies of two uniformed men at the site of the fighting.
Earlier, a spokesperson for the United Nations peacekeeping mission Monusco told AFP they had been involved in an exchange of fire with suspected rebels near Beni.
The ADF is a militia created by Muslim rebels to oppose Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni but which also operates in the DRC.
The group has been in the east of the country since 1995 and is accused by the U.N. and Congolese authorities of committing a series of civilian massacres since 2014. They are thought to have killed at least 700 civilians and 15 Tanzanian peacekeepers.
However, a 2017 report by the Congo Research Group at New York University concluded that Congolese Army commanders were responsible for orchestrating massacres in Beni from 2014 to 2016.
The ADF are blamed for a recent string of attacks in the region, including one late last month that left two Congolese Army soldiers and two women dead in North Kivu province.
Four soldiers and two civilians were killed in an October 4 attack in Beni that is thought to have targeted General Marcel Mbangu, a Congolese Army operational commander in the country’s east.
Local anger has surged with the latest attacks, directed at repeated failures by the authorities to curb the violence.
With reporting from AFP