The death toll in attacks by suspected members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia against two villages in Ituri province in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) has risen to 70, according to military sources.
A military spokesman, Jules Ngongo, has informed the DPA news agency of the new balance, saying that the militiamen ransacked the houses of the villages of Boga and Tchabi and massacred their residents.
Several hostages were also taken, including teenagers. According to Ngongo, the attackers came from Uganda and reached the Irumu area, where Boga and Tchabi are located. Civil society sources cited by the Congolese radio station Radio Okapi indicate that at least two soldiers and several displaced persons lived in a camp among those who died.
These sources have denounced that the attackers murdered at least 28 displaced people in Boga, where three houses were also burned down by the attackers who later broke into Tchabi, where they executed another 20 people.
In response, the army has promised to “mercilessly beat” the armed groups operating in the province where President Félix Tshisekedi declared a state of siege two weeks ago, which he did in North Kivu, given the rise in armed attacks Groups.
For its part, the New Congolese Civil Society (NSCC) has stated that at least 65 people have been killed by ADF members in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo since May 1, without the latest massacre, according to the Congolese news portal 7sur7.
In this regard, the NGO Action Against Hunger (ACH) announced on Saturday that it would cease operations in the Djugu area of Ituri after attacking and ransacking one of its offices in the city of Drodo, which has left thousands of people without humanitarian aid.
“We strongly condemn this attack on our teams, which will have dire consequences for the population as we are forced to cease our activities until further notice in the Djugu region and leave thousands of people without vital help,” said Benjamin Vienot, director of the Djugu region NGO in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“As an NGO we respect the humanitarian principles. We are neutral, apolitical and impartial. Our actions are based solely on the needs and sufferings of the residents of Ituri. We have received messages from local support and hope to be able to resume activities shortly if it improves. the security situation, ”estimated.
The ADF militia, allegedly linked to the Islamic State jihadist group, has been operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since the 1990s and continues to generate violence in the region despite repeated offensives.
Thus it is considered one of the most dangerous armed groups in the African country. The United Nations Joint Humanitarian Bureau in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (UNJHRO) announced in February that around 850 civilians had been killed by this militia in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri in 2020.