Suspected fighters belonging to an Islamic rebel militia attacked and killed 10 people and kidnapped two others during a raid in an eastern Congo village on Tuesday, November 05, a local official said.
Fighters stormed the village of Kokola in Beni territory on Monday evening, said Donat Kibwana, the local administrator.
The attack comes five days after the Democratic Republic of Congo’s army launched a large-scale operation against insurgent group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in an area which is also fighting to contain the second-worst Ebola epidemic on record.
The ADF, originally a Ugandan Islamist-inspired rebel group, has been operating along the Congo/Uganda border for more than two decades, one of a number of armed factions active in east Congo long after the official end of a 1998-2003 war.
“The mode of the attack was the same as that of the ADF,” he told Reuters by telephone. “While the army launched the large-scale operations deep into the forest, the rebels took the opportunity to attack the towns and civilians.”
Several of ADF’s previous attacks have been claimed by Islamic State, but the extent of their relationship remains unclear. The ADF is not known to have pledged loyalty to Islamic State in public.
The presence of the Islamist militant group, along with a constellation of other violent militias and armed criminal bands, has severely hampered efforts to contain the Ebola epidemic, which has infected more than 3,000 people and killed more than 2,000 since August last year. (Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation)