Over 20 killed in Islamist militant attack on Congo village
BY YASSIN KOMBI, ANAIT MIRIDZHANIAN AND SOFIA CHRISTENSEN –
At least 23 people were killed when Islamist militants raided a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo late on Sunday, a local official and a humanitarian worker said.
The attackers tied up villagers and killed them with machetes and other weapons while others fled, said a civil society leader, Maurice Mabele Musaidi, who gave an initial death toll of 19.
Some may have drowned as they tried to cross the Lamia river into Uganda, he added, noting that many were still missing.
A local official said later on Monday that the death toll had risen to at least 33, including an army captain. Two were children who drowned as they tried to reach Uganda.
Twenty-three victims were buried in the village, while six people were taken hostage to help carry looted goods and then executed, he added.
A humanitarian worker confirmed his team had helped bury 23 bodies. He said the army captain’s body had been taken to another location.
A spokesperson for Congo’s army said the attack in Beni territory’s Watalinga chiefdom was carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed group based in eastern Congo that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State.
The ADF formed in Uganda before moving over the border in the 1990s and has been blamed for thousands of killings in the last decade.
Congo’s army said it killed at least six of the militants that night, without going into detail on the operation.
The latest reported killing took place as Congo gears up for general elections on Dec. 20, for which campaigning is set to begin next week.
The electoral commission said on Monday that the vote would go ahead despite security concerns.