At least 19 killed in Congo by militia linked to Islamic State, officials say
Rebels in eastern Congo killed at least 19 people and set fire to a health center and houses, authorities said Sunday.
Gunmen suspected of being part of the Allied Democratic Forces, a militia with links to Islamic State, attacked civilians in Kirindera town, said Carly Nzanzu, the former governor of North Kivu province, in an interview with state media.
ADF attacks have killed dozens of people in several North Kivu villages in recent days. Congo’s authorities say people were slaughtered with guns, knives and machetes.
Aamaq, a news outlet linked to Islamic State, posted a statement Saturday in which Islamic State claimed responsibility for killing more than 35 Christians and wounding dozens in eastern Congo last week.
Pope Francis is demanding that foreign powers stop plundering Africa’s natural resources.
Conflict has simmered for decades in eastern Congo, where more than 120 armed groups fight for power, influence and resources, and some to protect their communities. The ADF has been largely active in North Kivu province but recently extended its operations into neighboring Ituri province.
Efforts to stem the violence have yielded little. A nearly yearlong joint operation by Uganda’s and Congo’s armies did not defeat or substantially weaken the Allied Democratic Forces, a panel of United Nations experts concluded in a December report.
The United Nations and human rights groups have accused the ADF rebels of maiming, raping and abducting civilians, including children. Earlier this month, the U.S. offered a reward of up to $5 million for information that could lead to the capture of the group’s leader, Seka Musa Baluku.
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