At least 20 dead in the new massacre of the Democratic Republic of Congo

At least 20 people were killed in a new massacre in the eastern province of Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo, a respected observer said on Monday, adding that the notorious ADF militia was a suspect.

The attack took place overnight in the village of Bwanasura in Irumu Territory, the Kivu Security Tracker (KST) said on Twitter.

David Beiza, head of the Red Cross in Irumu, said volunteers from his organization “counted 36 bodies” at the scene of the massacre.

Ituri and neighboring North Kivu province are struggling against attacks by armed groups, many of which are a legacy of wars in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The KST said Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) – a group the so-called Islamic State describes as its affiliate – were suspected of being behind the killing.

Beiza said: “The ADF rebels arrived around eight in the evening. They were moving calmly. Fortunately, many residents managed to escape.”

Ituri and North Kivu have been under a “state of siege” since May last year, a measure that places army leaders in positions of authority to accelerate efforts against armed groups.

The ADF was also targeted in a joint operation launched last November by the Ugandan government and forces following bomb attacks in the Ugandan capital Kampala.

Despite the crackdown, the ADF attacks continued.

On Saturday, at least 27 people were killed in Beu-Manyama, a village in the Beni area of ​​North Kivu, in an attack attributed to the group.

In March, at least 30 people were killed by suspected rebels in North Kivu and more than 50 people died in a two-day assault on Irumu villages.

The ADF is historically a Ugandan rebel coalition whose largest group included Muslims opposed to President Yoweri Museveni.

Established in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 1995, the group has become the deadliest of scores of outlawed forces in the deeply troubled region.

The ADF was charged with massacres, kidnappings and looting, with lives estimated to be in the thousands.

Since April 2019, some ADF attacks in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have been claimed by the Islamic State, which describes the group as its local offshoot, the province of the Central African Islamic State.

Last year, the United States put the ADF on its list of IS-related “terrorist” organizations.