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18.02.2020 Congo

Ten dead in attack in eastern DR Congo's Beni region

Democratic Republic of Congo.  By  (AFP)
LISTEN FEB 18, 2020
Democratic Republic of Congo. By (AFP)

Ten people were killed in an attack late Monday in the eastern DR Congo region of Beni, where a notorious militia has killed hundreds since October, a local official and a military officer said.

Hundreds of people were fleeing the area on Tuesday after the assault, by foot, motorcycle and truck, an AFPTV reporter said.

"Eight civilians, an intelligence agent and a soldier" were killed in the attack on the village of Manzahalo, local leader John Kambale told AFP on Tuesday.

Ten houses were burned down.

The toll was confirmed by a military officer, who blamed the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia.

The ADF began as an Islamist-rooted rebel group in Uganda that opposed President Yoweri Museveni.

It originally operated in Uganda but fell back to North Kivu, DR Congo's border province with Uganda, during the Congo Wars of the 1990s.

The militia appears to have halted raids inside Uganda and its recruits today are of various nationalities.

Already blamed for hundreds of civilian deaths in Beni since 2014, the group embarked on a series of massacres after the army launched a crackdown in October.

The Congolese army says it has taken the ADF's headquarters and that five out of the group's six senior commanders have been killed.

The UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO last Wednesday reported that Congolese troops had captured 40 ADF men.

Despite these reported successes, "the massacres have been continuing at a frenzied rate in Beni," according to the Kivu Security Tracker (KST), an NGO that monitors human rights violations in eastern DR Congo.

A total of 393 people have died since the end of October, many of them hacked to death, according to its toll.

It also says, quoting a source speaking on anonymity, that nearly 300 troops have been killed.

The ADF is one of numerous militias which plague the area -- a legacy of two wars that dragged the Democratic Republic of Congo's neighbours into a regional conflict.

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