Rebels carry out deadly attack in DR Congo

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North Kivu, one of the most populated areas of the DRC, is home to a number of armed groups that kill or abduct civilians © AFP/File / WALTER ASTRADA

At least 16 people have been killed and eight others injured in a rebel attack in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s restive eastern city of Beni.

According to witnesses who spoke to AFP News agency, twelve of the dead were civilians and the rest government soldiers.

A doctor at the local hospital reported seeing 16 dead bodies, “including 12 civilians and four soldiers or rebels.” Eight people were injured, of whom five civilians, in the attack late Saturday.

The Beni region is now under siege from the Allied Defence Forces (ADF), an Islamist rebel group blamed for hundreds of civilian deaths over the past four years.

“The surprise attack happened in the streets of Beni city,” the doctor told AFP. Four of the dead were killed while travelling in a taxi.

According to several witness accounts, the attack started around 1630-1700 GMT.

Heavy and light calibre gunfire was heard for several hours until after midnight local time. It was not known whether the army counter-attacked.

The rebels targeted areas near the centre of the trading settlement of several hundred thousand inhabitants.

The ADF group has responsible for the deaths of more than 1,500 people and 800 kidnappings since 2014, according to local civil society organisations.

The group has been in the east of the country since 1995 and are accused by the UN and Congolese authorities of committing a series of civilian massacres since 2014.

North Kivu, one of the most populated areas of the DRC, is home to a number of armed groups that kill or abduct civilians.

However, in 2015 the New York University Study Group on Congo said it was not just the ADF behind the killings and that other armed elements, including members of the Congolese army, were also to blame.

 

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