Rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo have killed 14 civilian as retaliation for army offensives against Ugandan rebel strong hold in the east of the country, said a local official on Saturday.
The killings occurred on Friday night and into Saturday taking the total number of those killed in revenge attacks in the past two weeks to more than 30.
The attack took place in two locations in the Beni region of the North Kivu province where the Congolese army last month announced an offensive to root out insurgents belonging to the Islamist-inspired rebel group, the (ADF) – a militia of Ugandan origin that has long operated in the border region.
The attackers used machetes and knives to carry out the attack and were believed to have gone on to loot shops and homes, according to Beni administrator Donat Kibwana.
Even after the army on October 30 said they had launched “large scale operations” including shelling and troop deployments aimed at ridding the area of armed groups, civilian deaths in ADF attacks have been on the rise.
Residents of Beni region have blamed the army for focusing their efforts on the wrong areas.
“It’s a complicated situation because the population is the target of ADF revenge attacks against army operations,” said Teddy Kataliko, president of the Beni Civil Society.
ADF has been active and present in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1995 and has been accused of having killed hundreds or even thousands of civilians in the Beni region in the past five years.
The Daesh group has claimed some of the ADF recent attacks but there is no clear indication of any affiliation between them.