Goma, DR Congo | AFP | Between 10 and 21 civilians were killed in two attacks by a notorious militia in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where government forces have vowed to root out armed groups, sources said Wednesday.
Seven people were killed in the city of Beni and between three and 14 were killed near Oicha, 30 kilometres (18 miles) away, according to the UN radio Okapi, which quoted the military, and local civil society.
The attacks late Tuesday were blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militia of Ugandan origin targeted by an army campaign to restore peace to DR Congo’s troubled east.
At least 60 people have been killed by the ADF since the offensive began on October 30, according to a toll compiled by AFP.
Commentators see the massacres as warnings to the local population against collaborating with government forces.
The city of Beni was last targeted by the ADF in October 2018.
The latest attacks sparked an exodus in the Beni district of Boikene and in the Mavete district of Oichi.
Protests erupted against poor security, and members of the UN peacekeeping force, MONUSCO, were advised not to go out on the streets of Beni.
The ADF’s historical roots lie in Islamist Ugandans opposed to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
The group has plagued the North Kivu region bordering Uganda since the Congo Wars in the 1990s, although its membership has since broadened to non-Ugandans and it has not carried out an attack on Uganda for years.
Hundreds of deaths have been attributed to the shadowy organisation since 2015.
The so-called Islamic State group has claimed some of the attacks ascribed to the ADF this year, but there is no clear evidence of any affiliation between the two groups.