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In DR Congo, militants raid villages and kill civilians

A Democratic Republic of the Congo soldier is seen on patrol in the village of Manzalaho, near Beni, February 18, 2020. (File photo by AFP)

Militants have hacked to death at least 30 people in a new massacre in the restive northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Locals and sources from the United Nations (UN) said on Monday that the militants armed with machetes, sticks and clubs had raided an area of Ituri province on Saturday.

Dieudonne Malangayi, a local official, said more bodies had been discovered in the bush.

“The civilians who went to look for the bodies of the victims found 16 others in the bush, which makes 30 civilians massacred,” he was quoted by AFP as saying. 

A UN source also confirmed that at least 30 people had died in the attack.

Augustin Muhindo Musavuli, a village elder who helped look for bodies, said some had their throats slit, others were disembowelled.

“We went into the bush with young people, accompanied by soldiers,” he said. “We transported the bodies on motorbikes... Lots of people died.”

David Beyza Katabuka, head of the local Red Cross, said he could not send a team to bury the bodies. “We fear for our security and we don't have enough equipment to do the work.”

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the raid. But the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group linked to the Takfiri terrorist group Daesh has been blamed for the latest assault in the region. The group seldom makes public statements.

In late May, more than 50 people were killed in the region in a single day in an attack on two villages.

Since then, the two eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri have been under a state of siege and martial law.

The ADF, which first emerged as a rebel movement in neighboring Uganda in 1996, is considered the deadliest of scores of armed militias that roam the mineral-rich eastern DR Congo.

Congolese authorities and rights groups have accused the ADF of killing hundreds of civilians during a fresh spate of violence in apparent retaliation for army offensives against them since late 2019.

In addition to the ADF, eastern Congo also suffers from inter-communal violence that left thousands of people dead over the past years.

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