Armed rebels, with suspected links to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, have killed dozens of civilians in an attack in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a senior provincial official says.
The fatalities took place in the village of Abembi in eastern DR Congo's Ituri province on Thursday and local security forces were dispatched to the site to investigate the massacre, according to provincial Interior Minister Adjio Gidi.
“The death toll as of this afternoon is reported to be 46,” Gidi said, adding that the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which was driven out of Uganda and moved into the DR Congo in the late 1990s, were behind the raid.
United Nations figures show the Ugandan armed rebel group has carried out a string of massacres in the eastern DR Congo since the start of 2019, claiming the lives of more than 1,000 civilians.
Many of the attacks attributed to the ADF have been claimed by Daesh, although UN experts have not been able to confirm any direct link between the two groups.
DR Congo’s eastern borderlands with Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi are home to an assortment of more than 100 different rebel groups, many remnants of its brutal civil wars that officially ended in 2003.
Moreover, the DR Congo has one of the highest rates of internal displacement in the world, according to the UN.
Over five million people within the country's borders have been uprooted by insecurity, while nearly a million more have sought safety in neighboring countries as refugees.
The Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, previously active in Iraq and Syria, has established strongholds across the African continent despite the presence of French forces to contain the violence.