BENI, DR CONGO: At least three (3) civilians are reported to have been killed, with several others taken hostage in a suspected terror attack by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militants in Beni, North Kivu, eastern DR Congo.
According to DRC-based reports, the IS-linked militant group is said to have targeted Kazaroho village in Beni area as residents welcomed the New Year.
Fataki Sabuni, chief of the locality of Matumbi, an entity neighboring the attacked place on Monday morning said at least “3 people were confirmed dead in Kazaroho.” adding that “The civilians were brutally murdered with sharp objects before their bodies were left lying on the ground.”
Sabuni said they also disclosed over a dozen houses were burned down by the notorious militants.
The development comes at a time the allied Congolese and Ugandan forces are piling more pressure on ADF following devastating aerial and long-rong artillery attacks on the militants’ camps, especially at Kambi Ya Yua.
Beni’s provincial deputy Alain Siwako said he had received reports of the disappearance of ten civilians.
It remains unclear if ADF has embarked on a fresh forced recruitment of fighters following the November attacks on the movement’s bases in which hundreds of combatants were killed.
“Everything suggests that they were taken captive,” said Siwako.
“Attackers stormed Kazaroho. They killed 3 civilians and burned 10 houses,” he emphasised. The bodies of victims have already been taken from the scenes of crime for burial.
According to the Kivu Security Tracker (KST), an NGO that monitors violence in the DRC’s troubled east, ADF has killed more than 1,200 civilians in the Beni area alone since 2017. Many families are homeless as a result of these attacks and now live miserably in Internally Displaced Person campsites in the Beni region.
President Museveni while delivering his End of Year Message on Friday 31, December, said the fleeing ADF remnants were attacking innocent people following the recent raid on their camps by the joint-military force of UPDF and the Congolese army.
Museveni said; “The terrorists are now fleeing and killing villagers; that will not save them,” said Museveni in reference to continuing massacres of unarmed civilians by ADF in Beni and Ituri.
“If the Congolese Government allows us, we shall hit them even if they go up to Kisangani or beyond. Their only choice is to surrender so that the people of Congo and Uganda have peace, and these terrorists also get rehabilitated and learn to live and earn an honest living…”