Residents of Mukondi village in the territory of Beni, in North Kivu are living in fear after the Allied Democratic Front (ADF) rebels raided their homes and savagely murdered nearly 40 civilians according to civil society group reports.
The rebels attacked the village on Wednesday night killing 40 people and burning several houses.
The attack was confirmed by several sources from local civil society, including Sadam Patanguli, one of the young leaders of the Bashu chieftaincy. He has appealed to government for the expansion of joint FARDC-UPDF operations in this area strongly under threat from the rebels.
“The expansion of joint FARDC UPDF operations in the Bashu chieftaincy is an emergency. The populations of Bashu are also humans who have the right to life. When the ADF is hunted down in Mughalika, it kills civilians,” he said.
The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) is claimed by the Islamic State group as its central African affiliate.
Last week on Thursday, the US embassy in Kinshasa said it was offering up to $5 million for information leading to the reward of ADF leader Seka Musa Baluku.
Under his leadership, the militia “kills, maims, rapes, and commits other sexual violence and engages in abduction of civilians, including children”, the embassy said.
Baluku is a Ugandan national, according to the US State Department, who is likely in his late 40s.
In 2021, the United States officially linked the ADF to the Islamic State group and added it to its list of foreign terrorist organizations.
The militia has continued to carry out deadly attacks in eastern Congo, particularly in the neighboring provinces of North Kivu and Ituri.
On January 15, suspected ADF operatives detonated a bomb in a church in North Kivu, for example, killing at least 14 people and injuring another 63.
DRC President Felix Tshisekedi placed North Kivu and Ituri in a “state of siege” in 2021, replacing civilian administrators with military and police personnel in a bid to stem the violence.
The DRC and Uganda also launched a joint offensive that year to drive the ADF out of their Congolese strongholds, but the measures have so far failed to defeat the group.