Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 22 civilians in an overnight raid on villages near the town of Beni in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Jean-Paul Katembo, head of the Bulongo commune, blamed the Allied Democratic Forces, ADF, for the attack. ADF is a Ugandan militia active in eastern Congo since the 1990s.
Just over three weeks ago the government declared martial law in North Kivu and Ituri, two provinces bordering Uganda, in an attempt to stem worsening bloodshed.
More than 1,200 civilians have been killed in Beni territory since November 2019, according to the Kivu Security Tracker, when the army began an operation aimed at ending the ADF’s insurgency.
The offensive uprooted the ADF from its bases and it split into smaller groups, but the armed group responded by stepping up reprisal attacks against civilians.