At least 17 people have been killed in separate attacks by the notorious ADF militia in the restive eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), local officials said on Wednesday.
The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) — the bloodiest of more than 120 armed groups that roam eastern DRC — on Tuesday attacked the villages of Samboko, Tchani-Tchani and Kapoka, said Donat Kibwana, the local territorial administrator.
“Twelve people were knifed to death and others were forcibly abducted,” said Kibwana, in charge of Beni Territory in North Kivu province.
Mathe Kwirathwiwe, a local civil representative in Samboko, gave a death toll of 15, including a soldier who was part of a counter-attack that led to the release of 10 hostages.
The three villages are located in an enclave called Beni-Mbau, in the far north of North Kivu, on the border with Ituri province.
Five civilians, including two drivers and their passengers, were killed in another attack on Wednesday on the Kasindi road that leads to the Ugandan border, local officials said.
Two vehicles caught in the ambush were burned, Kambala Bashinde, the chairman of the local drivers association told AFP.
Local administrator of the territory Donat Kibwana confirmed the attack, attributing it to “ADF attackers.”
The ADF is a historically Ugandan Islamist group that has holed up in eastern DRC since 1995.
On March 11, the US said the ADF were linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS) group, and were known as ISIS-DRC or Madina at Tauheed Wau Mujahedeen.
In a statement released through its propaganda site, IS claimed responsibility for two attacks on “two Congolese army posts” in villages in the Rwenzori sector in southeastern Beni territory.
Three Congolese soldiers were killed, it said.
AFP could not immediately reach the DRC’s armed forces for comment.
Last Friday, the UN said a surge of ADF attacks since the start of the year had claimed nearly 200 lives and forced 40,000 people to flee their homes.
According to the Kivu Security Tracker, an NGO that monitors violence in the DRC’s troubled east, the group has killed more than 1,200 civilians in the Beni area alone since 2017.