Five Allied Democratic Forces hostages found dead in eastern DR Congo

BENI, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO - SEPTEMBER 30: Police officer keeps guard during the trial of Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels group member Kasereka Sindani (not seen) as he is accused of having taken part in the Rwangoma massacre, at North Kivu court-martial in Beni, Democratic Republic of the Congo on September 30, 2016. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Police officer keeps guard during the trial of an Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group member in Beni, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Five people who were taken hostage by suspected members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) were found dead near Virunga National Park in the DR Congo’s North Kivu Province, a local official told AFP.

Kambale Sibendire, a leader in Malambo district which is located to the southeast of the city of Beni, confirmed that the deceased were those kidnapped during an attack on Monday.

“They are the bodies of inhabitants who were taken hostage in the attack,” Sibendire said.

The ADF is accused of being behind the killing of 10 people in an attack on the village of Manzahalo late on Monday. Eight of the casualties were civilians while the other two were an intelligence officer and a soldier.

The ADF is a rebel group of Ugandan origin which has been active in the eastern part of the DR Congo since the mid-1990s.

Virunga National Park, Africa’s oldest national park, and the area around it have been hit by rising instability and violence in recent months.

Several armed groups operate in the eastern region; however, most of the recent attacks have been blamed on the ADF. The attacks led to protests against United Nations peacekeepers and the government over a perceived failure to protect citizens against the rebel groups.

In December last year, 22 people, among them 13 women, were killed in Beni, according to a regional civil society group.

In November, two people were killed and another one was injured after the convoy in which they were traveling in was ambushed on the national highway near Ngwenda village in Rutshuru territory.

The park itself reopened in February last year following a security review after its closure for nine months in the wake of the killing of nine people, including a ranger.

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