KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) – At least 52 civilians were killed in the latest attacks attributed to Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a rights organization has said.
The separate but simultaneous attacks took place Sunday and Monday in several towns in Irumu territory of Ituri province, according to Christophe Munyanderu, the local coordinator of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Convention for the Respect of Human Rights (CRDH) in Irumu.
“On Sunday and Monday, suspected ADF rebels launched attacks in the villages of Otomabere, Ndimo and Apende, killing 52 people,” said Munyanderu.
“At least 15 people were killed in Apende, 18 in Ndimo and in Otomabere 19. These are villages close to each other,” he added.
Munyanderu condemned the killings and called for the intensification of military operations in the area, which he said has become the epicenter of the ADF.
“We want military operations to be seriously launched in the area…because since last week, the ADF have been killing civilians,” he said.
Ugandan forces and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) are jointly conducting military operations to flush out the ADF, who have been attacking and killing civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for over two decades.
However, despite the joint operations and a state of siege declared in Ituri and North Kivu provinces to stem the violence, the rebels continue to wreak havoc.
Last Friday, around 30 civilians were killed by suspected ADF fighters in Beni territory, on the boundary between North Kivu and Ituri provinces.
At least 383 civilians have been killed in the last three and a half months since the launch of the joint operations by the FARDC and Ugandan forces, Congolese member of parliament Jean-Baptiste Kasekwa claimed Tuesday.
The lawmaker added that more than 2,000 people have been killed since the establishment of the state of siege in North Kivu and Ituri.