Fighters from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia killed seven civilians in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, just days after another massacre, local officials and police said.
About 60 ADF fighters carried out the attack at Makeke, killing five men and two women, local official Mapengo Shabani told AFP. Makeke lies 32km north of Beni, in Ituri province, near the border with Uganda.
“The attack happened in broad daylight,” he added. “These terrorists also pillaged five shops. So far, we have not recorded any missing persons.”
This latest attack was first reported by Major Losendjola Morisho, chief of police at the neighbouring town of Mangina.
Morisho also reported that another 12 bodies had been discovered near Beni, in the neighbouring province of North Kivu, two days after an ADF attack that killed eight people and left around 20 missing.
“The 12 bodies found today were victims of Friday’s ADF attack,” Morisho told AFP.
On Friday, ADF militia fighters slit the throats of eight people in Mangina commune, prompting hundreds of villagers to flee the area.
It was just the latest massacre blamed on the ADF, which has carried out reprisal attacks on civilians in response to a military crackdown that began in October.
Militia violence has wracked eastern DR Congo for years, a legacy of the two Congo Wars in the 1990s, but the ADF has been blamed for most of the recent attacks.
The region around Beni, straddling the North Kivu and Ituri provinces, is the epicentre of the ADF campaign. Activists say more than 300 people have been killed there since October.
On January 28, 36 civilians were killed in an attack in Oicha, also in Beni, part of the ADF’s revenge attacks on civilians.
The ADF, blamed for the deaths of more than 1 000 civilians in Beni since October 2014, began as an Islamist-rooted rebel group in Uganda that opposed President Yoweri Museveni.
It fell back into eastern DRC in 1995 during the Congo Wars and appears to have halted raids inside Uganda. Its recruits today are of various nationalities.