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DR Congo: At least 50 killed in attacks

May 31, 2021

It was considered one of the deadliest days in the country in recent years. A group with suspected ties to the Islamic State has been blamed.

A DR Congo soldier exchanges fire with the ADF
The ADF group has been blamed for more than one thousand deaths since November 2019Image: Alain Wandimoyi/AFP

Separate overnight attacks in the troubled eastern Democratic Republic of Congo left at least 50 people dead, according to local officials and monitors on Monday.

The Kivu Security Tracker (KST) said 28 people were killed in Boga and 22 in Tchabi, two villages that are about 10 kilometers (6 miles) apart and about 310 kilometers north of Goma, in an area known for attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) group. The KST said it was the highest death toll that it recorded in a single day since in was founded in 2017.

'Toll is likely to grow'

"They're still finding bodies, so the toll is likely to grow," said local MP Gracien Iracan, adding, "many wounded people are still hiding in the bush, everyone fled there."

A UN source told AFP news agency that South African blue helmets from the MONUSCO peacekeeping mission's base in Tchabi exchanged fire with the attackers when they tried to intervene.

Two local officials in Boga told AFP that the attackers hit a camp for displaced people. They said they believed it was ethnically motivated, as the camp that was attacked hosted mostly displaced people from the Nyali group, but a nearby site assisting Banyabwisha people was spared.

"We think it was the same group" behind the attacks, the head of the Nyali community in Tchabi told AFP. "They attacked around 1 am. There are children and the very old among the dead…at the moment we're preparing to bury them."

As of Friday, the KST estimated that at least 1,228 civilians have been killed in the Beni territory of North Kivu since November 2019 when the DR Congo launched a crackdownwhich splintered the ADF into smaller groups. The UN has said that the ADF has killed more than 850 people in 2020.

The US government classified the ADF as a global terrorist organization in March. The group has previously proclaimed allegiance to the Islamic State. 

Goma volcano displaces children

The country has also been hit by Africa's most active volcano erupting. Mount Nyiragongo spewed lava earlier this month, which destroyed homes and killed dozens in nearby Goma. Residents have been allowed to return in recent days.

UN Peacekeeper Omar Aboud in Goma

kbd/csb (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)