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Suspected members of a notorious Islamist militia killed 16 people who were returning from a weekly market in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) yesterday, Africa Daily News, New York has learnt.
The dead from the ambush on which was reported evening included six women and a child, all of whom were shot, Jerome Munyambethe, head of the hospital in the town of Oicha, told reporters.
‘We have 16 bodies in the hospital morgue,’ town mayor Nicolas Kikuku said.
He said another nine wounded were being treated at the hospital.
The attack occurred on a highway between the towns of Maimoya and Chani-chani, 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the city of Beni in North Kivu province.
The Oicha region is a hotbed of attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the deadliest of scores of armed militias in the mineral-rich eastern DRC.
“The ambush is the work of ADF roaming the area. They also fired a rocket,” said Lewis Saliboko, a representative of grassroots groups in Oicha.
‘It’s the ADF enemy which yet again has attacked peace-loving people,’ said Kikuku.
The DRC’s Catholic Church says the ADF — historically a Ugandan Islamist group that has holed up in the region since 1995 — has massacred around 6,000 civilians since 2013.
A respected US-based monitor of violence in eastern DRC, the Kivu Security Tracker (KST) blames it for more than 1,200 deaths in the Beni area alone since 2017.
The toll has risen sharply since 2019, when the militia appears to have become more radicalised.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK