At least seven people were killed in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in two overnight attacks blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia, a monitoring group and a local official said Friday, bringing the death toll in the region to 33 in four days.
The Kivu Security Tracker (KST), a monitoring organization that has experts in the region, said the assaults left seven people dead and two missing.
The attacks occurred along the road linking Beni and Kasindi, a strategic supply route for the Beni region protected by a Congolese army presence as well as UN peacekeeping forces.
“The targets were firstly a truck that was carrying cocoa cargo towards Kasindi — the driver was shot dead and two other people were burned inside the vehicle,” territorial administrator Donat Kibuana told AFP. “Then the same ADF (fighters) burned five people in their home,” he said.
On Thursday KST said the toll from an attack overnight Tuesday in the same sector — the mountainous Rwenzori area of greater Beni — had risen from 13 dead to 26.
That attack was also attributed to ADF, a historically Ugandan Islamist group that has holed up in eastern DRC since 1995.
Scores of armed militias operate in the mineral-rich eastern DRC, many of them a legacy of two regional wars from 1996 to 2003.
More than 500 civilians have been killed in the provinces of North and South Kivu alone since the start of the year, according to an AFP toll based on NGO figures and local sources.
The United States has said the ADF is linked to the Islamic State (IS), and was known as ISIS-DRC or Madina at Tauheed Wau Mujahedeen.
DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi this month proclaimed a 30-day “state of siege” — effectively martial law — in North Kivu and neighboring Ituri province in a bid to curb bloodshed by the ADF.