Death Toll Rises To 41 In Latest Attack By Militants In Eastern Congo

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The death toll from an attack in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Friday by militants and Islamist rebels has risen to at least 41, according to government reports released on Monday. The attack occurred in the villages of Masala, Keme, and Mahini.

In the aftermath of the attack, Red Cross volunteers and local youths have been searching for bodies in the village of Masala in the eastern North Kivu province. Residents reported that armed men, wielding guns and machetes, launched a brutal assault on the villages, causing significant casualties.

“We learned that our fleeing family members were killed along the way. Here we have two bodies, a girl and a boy. Look how they were killed,” recounted Maurice Kambale Mulehera, a resident of Masala, reflecting the community’s grief and horror.

While North Kivu has seen escalating violence from the M23 rebels in recent months, the Congolese army attributed these latest attacks to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The ADF, an Islamist militant group with a 30-year presence in the DRC, has a history of launching attacks against both the Congolese army and civilians in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces. The group has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

The residents of Masala are in shock following the deadly rampage, which left many dead and homes destroyed. Local civil society members reported that over 80 people have been killed in multiple assaults in the area since last Tuesday. They have urgently called for increased protection from the government.

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The eastern region of the DRC has been mired in violence for nearly three decades, with over 100 armed groups vying for control over land, power, and valuable mineral resources. This protracted conflict has displaced more than seven million people, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the area.

Melissa Enoch

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