By Abimbola Ogunnaike
Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 19 persons and burned a medical facility in a raid on a village in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, 12 March, 2023, two regional officials and a resident said.
The attack, which occurred around 1 am (2300 GMT) in the village of Kirindera in North Kivu province, took place just a little kilometre from another attack on a village where at least 35 people were killed last week.
The army had blamed last week’s attack on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group based in eastern Congo that has sworn allegiance to Islamic State and conducts regular raids on villages.
A member of the local civil society and a resident of a nearby village, Sadame Patanguli, blamed today’s (Sunday) attack on the ADF too.
“Gunfire was heard around Kirindera. The ADF arrived, they set fire to a hospital after looting it with medicines, and they set fire to a hotel,” Patanguli said.
According to him, the militants kidnapped many others, who are now missing.
The ADF was formed in Uganda before moving to eastern Congo in the 1990s and has been blamed for thousands of deaths in the last decade.
Congo’s government announced a state of siege in North Kivu and neighbouring Ituri province back in 2021 in an attempt to stem rampant militia violence in the nation’s vast mineral-rich east.
But the killings and rebel activity haven’t shown any sign of abating.