Local authorities in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo reported on Thursday that suspected militants from the Allied Democratic Forces were responsible for at least 40 fatalities in two separate attacks.
The ADF, one of the deadliest armed factions in Eastern Congo, is accused of massacring thousands of civilians and is identified by the Islamic State group as its affiliate in central Africa.
In the Beni district of North Kivu province, fighters from the organization reportedly attacked the neighboring communities of Mukondi and Mausa on Wednesday night and early on Thursday.
Local administrator Kalunga Meso described the area as “very desolate,” adding that “They collected up people and then murdered them.”
He said to our correspondent that eight people had died in Mausa and 38 had died in Mukondi, emphasizing that the death toll was provisional.
37 people had died in Mukondi, according to local civil society leader Mumbere Arsene, and eight had died in Mausa.
“All the dead people were killed with knives,” he said.
A reputable violence monitor, the Kivu Security Tracker, reported on Thursday that armed men had used machetes to kill at least 30 people in Mukondi.
The number of fatalities could not be verified.
The ADF, one of the many dangerous armed organizations operating in eastern Congo, has been charged with a number of bombings and massacres of civilians.
According to observers, many have perished at its hands, many of them in the Beni region.
Since late 2021, a joint Congolese-Ugandanese military effort has been aimed at the militia in Eastern DRC, although attacks have persisted.
This Monday, the US announced a reward of up to $5 million for information regarding Seka Musa Baluku, the leader of the ADF.