Devastation in a village in eastern DRC after ADF attack
Few survivors remain in the village of Mukondi in eastern DRC, where ADF fighters hacked dozens to death in an attack this week.
On Wednesday, militants affiliated with the Islamic State group killed more than 40 people in Mukondi and the nearby village of Mausa, according to local officials.
Some villagers described how they welcomed the militants before the killing began.
Kavugho Tsongo, a 40-year-old farmer from Mukondi, said the villagers initially thought the gunmen – who wore military fatigues – were just paying a visit.
The fighters killed her sister-in-law and her nephew. “They were chopped up by machetes in my presence,” Tsongo said.
Dozens of armed groups plague troubled eastern Congo, many of them a legacy of regional wars that flared up in the 1990s and 2000s.
But the ADF is among the deadliest, accused of killing thousands of civilians.
Last week, the United States offered a reward of up to $5 million for information on ADF leader Seka Musa Baluku.
Mukondi bore the brunt of the militia’s recent violence this week. AFP visited the relatively large settlement in Beni territory of North Kivu province on Friday.
Village chief Deogratias Kasereka said there was no shooting during the attack. “They used bladed weapons, machetes, axes”.
Thirty-one people were killed, according to Kasereka, in the village, which is now almost empty because residents have fled.
AFP could not independently confirm the number of people killed in the attack.
– Burnt down houses –
Kambale Kivyeku, 58, said he left his field and arrived in Mukondi to find burning houses.
He asked men who were nearby what was going on. “Unknowingly, I had just spoken to the rebels,” Kivyeku said.
The fighters asked him to drop to the ground and pointed a gun at him before hitting him with a tree branch.
“I don’t know if I escaped by magic,” said Kivyeku.
Moise Kambale Kirimbi, who is also a farmer, said that during the attack, militants killed a family member and also set his house on fire.
“I don’t know where to go,” the 38-year-old said, adding that there were few soldiers protecting the area.
In their absence, local militias known as Mai-Mai provide security.
“I appeal to the government to track down these rebels,” Kirimbi said, referring to the ADF. “They must be prevented from returning”.
Efforts to defeat the ADF and other militias have so far failed.
North Kivu and neighboring Ituri province have been under a so-called “state of siege” since 2021, with security officials directing local governments to stamp out the violence.
The DRC and Uganda also launched a joint offensive earlier this year to drive the ADF out of their Congolese strongholds, but actions have so far failed to end the group’s attacks.
Remaining residents interviewed by AFP said militants set fire to 16 buildings in Mukondi, including a clinic.
At the nearest hospital, 7 kilometers (4 miles) away, most of the wounded survivors suffered head injuries.
Hospital director Justin Muyisa said he has taken in 17 wounded patients, including 11 children, since the attack, some of whom are in critical condition.
“We have no help, we urgently need medicine,” he said.
https://news.yahoo.com/desolation-east-dr-congo-village-201413718.html Devastation in a village in eastern DRC after ADF attack