16 civilians killed in ambush in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo | Democratic Republic of Congo News

When returning from the weekly market in North Kivu, one of the victims was a child.

A report citing medical and local sources stated that attackers in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) killed at least 16 civilians when returning from the weekly market.

The ambush on Thursday night took place on the highway between Maimoya and Chani-chani, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Beni, North Kivu.

Jerome Munyambethe, head of the Oicha town hospital, told AFP that six women and one child — all shot to death — were the victims.

The mayor Nicolas Kikuku said: “We have 16 bodies in the hospital morgue, and the other 9 injured have been taken to the hospital for treatment.”

Fighters belonging to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF)-the most deadly of the estimated 122 armed groups in the mineral-rich eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, many of which are remnants of two regional wars between 1996 and 2003-are often in Oicha The area launched an attack.

“The ambush is the work of ADF roaming the area. They also launched a rocket,” said Lewis Saliboko, a representative of the grassroots group in Oiza.

“It was the enemies of the ADF that attacked the peace-loving people again,” Kikuku said.

ADF first appeared in western Uganda and then established a base in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in the mid-1990s without claiming responsibility for the attack.

The Catholic Church of the Democratic Republic of Congo stated that since 2013, the Allied Democratic Army has massacred nearly 6,000 civilians, and the number of casualties has risen sharply since 2019.

Kivu Security Tracker (KST) is a respected United States that monitors violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It accused the ADF of more than 1,200 deaths in the Beni region since 2017.

On March 10, the United States referred to ADF as a “foreign terrorist organization” and stated that its leader Moussa Baruku had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) armed group.

But experts are still uncertain about the degree of connection between ADF and ISIL.

In May, the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Felix Tsisekedi declared that North Kivu and neighboring Ituri province had entered a “state of martial law” to curb the growing insecurity and strengthen the fight against armed groups.

Under this move, senior civilian officials were replaced by army officers.

But Saliboko, a representative of the grassroots organization, complained that the new measures failed to contain the attack.

“What’s the point of this state of siege as we continue the massacre?” he said. “No action, no extra power.”

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