Congo Army says Suspected Islamist militia kills 20

FILE Photo: Exchanges of heavy weapons fire erupted in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday between the army and militia fighters, and several students sitting exams were wounded in an explosion at a school, residents said. Image courtesy: AP
FILE PHOTO: Soldiers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) look at the distant hills near the town of Kibumba at its border with Rwanda after fighting broke out. (Photo: REUTERS)

Islamist militants killed at least 20 people during attacks on three villages in eastern Congo, the army, and a local administrator said.

The attacks started at around 6 p.m. on Monday, and finished at around 5 a.m. the following day, according to CEPADHO, a local civil rights group.

“Our sources indicate that the assailants have engaged in real carnage,” said Omar Kavota, vice president of CEPADHO, in a statement.

The army and local authorities discovered the victims of the latest massacre on Wednesday in the villages of Mapasana, Mayitike, and Sayuni, around 30km north-west of the city of Beni.

The killings come just three days after a similar raid that left 13 dead.

Several attacks attributed to the ADF have also been claimed by Islamic State, although researchers and analysts say there is a lack of hard evidence linking the two groups.

The insecurity has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and complicated Congo’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for more than three decades, have killed more than 1,000 civilians since the start of 2019, according to United Nations figures.