Armed men killed 14 civilians in two attacks in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, local officials said Sunday, blaming the Allied Democratic Forces militia for the killings.
These latest raids came despite a months-long Congolese-Ugandan military operation to try to defeat the ADF insurgency in the troubled border region.
ADF fighters attacked the settlement of Mamove Saturday morning, killing six women and three men, wounding two other people and torching two houses, said local civil society leader Kinos Katuo.
“We have alerted the army, but so far no offensive has been launched, leaving the enemy free to roam everywhere to pillage and kill,” he added.
In a second raid on Saturday night, attackers killed five men in Kisima-centre on a major road leading to the Ugandan border, said Meleki Mulala, a civil society representative in North Kivu province. He too blamed ADF fighters.
The Congolese and Ugandan armies are trying to guard the Beni-Kasindi highway, where a Ugandan company is carrying out construction work under an agreement between the two neighbours.
The DRC and Uganda launched a joint offensive against the ADF in November 2021 to crush the rebels, but violence against civilians continues.
Ricardo Rupande, head of a network of civil society organisations in eastern DRC, said Ugandan troops had only secured areas where their equipment was located, five kilometres (three miles) from the town of Kasindi.
The Congolese army has urged the local population to trust it to put the ADF out of action, Colonel Charles Omeanga told AFP.
Claimed by the Islamic State group as its Central African offshoot, the ADF has been accused of massacring Congolese civilians and carrying out terrorist attacks in neighbouring Uganda.
Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi placed the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri in a state of siege last year, meaning military administrators replaced civilian officials.
But that measure and the joint operation with Uganda have failed to stop the violence in the restive east, where dozens of armed groups still operate.