DR Congo: at least 80 civilians killed by IS-affiliated ADF rebels in country’s east

At least 80 civilians have been killed by suspected Islamic State-affiliated rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) North Kivu province in the space of a month, prompting renewed calls by local politicians for the government to make security a priority.

The Uganda’s Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, is blamed to be behind a series of attacks on villages in the restive North Kivu province The most recent attacks by the ADF in the Masala, Mapasana and Mahini villages between 4-7 May claimed another 41 lives, taking the total to around 80 civilians in the space of a month. The ADF mounts frequent attacks, forcing populations of entire entities flee their homes, thus further destabilizing a region where many militant groups, including the infamous M23 rebels, are active.

Amid mounting criticism of the DRC government for failing to deal with the quickly deteriorating security situation in the region, the Ministry of Communication and Media has vowed the country’s military would not stop until it tracked down the attackers and freed all the hostages taken by the rebels. The senator for North Kivu, Papy Machozi, said in a statement that the DRC government should make security a short-term priority “to definitively resolve this suffering of innocent populations which has lasted too long.”

Meanwhile, in a related but separate development, three Americans were reported to have appeared in a military court over last month’s botched coup attempt in the central African country, facing a number of charges, including terrorism, murder, and criminal association.