12 March 2023

At least 19 people killed in Congo massacre by suspected extremists

12 March 2023

Rebels in eastern Congo killed at least 19 people and set fire to houses.

Gunmen suspected of being part of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militia with links to the so-called Islamic State (IS) group, attacked civilians in Kirindera town, Carly Nzanzu, the former governor of North Kivu province, said.

ADF attacks have killed dozens of people in several North Kivu villages in recent days. Congo’s authorities say people were killed with guns, knives and machetes.

Aamaq, a news agency linked to IS, posted a statement on Saturday in which IS claimed responsibility for killing more than 35 “Christians” and wounding dozens in eastern Congo last week.

Conflict has simmered for decades in eastern Congo, where more than 120 armed groups fight for power, influence and resources, and some to protect their communities.

The ADF has been largely active in North Kivu province but recently extended its operations into neighbouring Ituri province.

Efforts to stem the violence have yielded little. A nearly year-long joint operation by Uganda and Congo’s armies did not defeat or substantially weaken the Allied Democratic Forces, a panel of UN experts concluded in a December report.

The UN and human rights groups have accused the ADF rebels of maiming, raping and abducting civilians, including children.

Earlier this month, the United States offered a reward of up to five million dollars (£4.2 million) for information that could lead to the capture of the group’s leader, Seka Musa Baluku.

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