On May 27th, at least 40 people were killed in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the latest of a series of attack along the Ugandan border.
Fighters from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) group, which was driven out of Uganda in the late 1990s, attacked Samboko village, about 100km southwest of the city of Bunia, Omar Kavota from rights group CEPADHO said.
Just a day earlier, ADF killed at least 17 in the nearby village of Makutano.
Both attacks were carried out with machetes, as the militants looted food and valuables.
More than 400 people have been killed in attacks attributed to the ADF since the army began an offensive to oust the group from its bases in 2019, according to the Kivu Security Tracker (KST).
KST is a research initiative that maps unrest in the region.
There were two months of relative quiet, and the attacks were renewed over the three weeks of May 2020.
Rachel Tarwayo, a government administrator, said she was aware of the Samboko incursion but could not provide any further details.
“On the ground, some people have fled and others have given themselves the courage to stay for the moment,” said Gili Gotabo, a rights activist in the region.
The ADF pledged their allegiance to ISIS but researchers say there is no evidence of close collaboration. ISIL has also endorsed some ADF attacks.
Approximately 200,000 people have fled their homes in Ituri province, where the two villages are located, in the past two months because of the widespread violence by a variety of armed groups.
More than 700 people have been killed in Ituri since late 2017, a United Nations report said in January, adding that some of the deaths might constitute a “crime against humanity”.
In April, 22 people from the Hema community were killed in attacks in the village of Koli in Ituri province, which were blamed on the Cooperative for the Development of Congo – an armed political-religious sect drawn from the Lendu ethnic group.
Conflict between the Lendu, mainly farmers, and the Hema, herders and traders, has a long history in the gold- and oil-rich region.
There’s also accusations that Congolese soldiers took parts in massacres since 2014, due to competition for power in resource-rich lawless zones dominated by dozens of armed groups.
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