A night-time assault on a village in majority-Christian eastern DR Congo has left at least 17 dead, slashed with axes and machetes. It is suspected that the attack, which took place last Tuesday (3 May), was carried out by Ugandan Islamist group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
ADF rebels have been accused of carrying out numerous bloody attacks on the mostly Christian population in this area for years.
Armed with axes and machetes, attackers infiltrated a village in North Kivu province, eastern DR Congo, in the evening.
“Between 20:00 and 22:00, the enemy managed to get past army positions and kill peaceful residents in their homes, slashing their throats,” local administrator Bernard Amisi Kalonda told Agence France-Presse (AFP). “The 16 bodies are in front of me, killed by machete or axe.”
General Jean Baillaud, the military chief of the UN mission in the DR Congo, confirmed that at least 17 people had been killed.
Three days later (6 May) a local source asserted that the death toll had risen to as many as 34 as those seriously wounded succumbed to their injuries.
After the event thousands of people fled the area, a local Christian worker said.
He said, “It was eerie; hundreds of houses abandoned and thousands of people displaced. I saw four coffins and a funeral or two on the road. I saw people carrying their mattresses and things in cars, on motorcycles, on foot. Hundreds of homes along the road are abandoned. Where there was thriving community, there is now a ghost town.”
ADF, which has also adopted the name Muslim Defense International, set up their base in eastern DR Congo over ten years ago after the Ugandan army pushed them out of Uganda.
According to the United Nations, the group is responsible for the death of more than 500 people in the region since 2014. Analysts think ADF has links with Somalia's al-Shabaab, Nigeria's Boko Haram, and even al-Qaida. They are also known to have forced Christians to convert to Islam.