GOMA, Bodies of 26 civilians believed to have been killed after an ambush by suspected members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) last week in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have been discovered, the mayor of Beni territory said on Monday.
Nyonyi Bwanakawa told SoftPower by phone that most of those killed were civilians including women and their hands were tied before they were killed.
A local army spokesman Mak Hazukay said the victims included one soldier who disappeared six days ago after suspected rebels of ADF ambushed him and colleagues on a main road in North Kivu, Beni territory.
“Authorities are still carrying out the search. But so far, 26 bodies have been found,” Hazukay said, adding the army was still carrying out operations against several militants in North Kivu.
A team including officials from Congo’s UN mission MONUSCO, the army, the Congolese Red Cross, and Congolese authorities visited the scene of the killings on Sunday.
Last year, President Yoweri Museveni met Congolese President Joseph Kabila at Mpondwe in Bwera, Kasese District and promised to help authorities in Kinshasa purge rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces , whose leader, Jamil Mukulu was arrested in Tanzania and is now in jail and facing prosecution.
A week ago, two UN peacekeepers were killed and 15 others were injured by members of ADF following an attack on a UN base in Mamundioma, a village near Beni city in North Kivu province.
Renewed fighting between government troops and several rebel groups has been going on in the past weeks across Congo since President Joseph Kabila refused to step down when his mandate ended last December.
Congo, almost the size of Western Europe and the world’s largest source of cobalt, has for two decades struggled to defeat dozens of local and foreign militias in the east, which has deposits of tin, gold and coltan.
The ADF, a Ugandan Islamist armed group, has been active in Congo since 1993.