ADF fighters killed 57 civilians in displacement camps in eastern DR Congo: United Nations

Fighters from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) group killed 57 civilians in displacement camps in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on May 31, the United Nations said on Friday, voicing outrage at the gun and machete assaults.

“On May 31, ADF simultaneously attacked displacement sites and villages near the towns of Boga and Tchabi, killing 57 civilians – including seven children – who were shot and attacked with machetes,” UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told reporters in Geneva.

“Several others were left wounded and 25 people were abducted, while over 70 shelters and stores were set on fire.

“In Boga town alone, 31 women, children and men were killed. Bereaved family members told UNHCR partners that many of their relatives were burnt alive in their houses,” Baloch said.

“UNHCR is outraged by this latest in a series of atrocities committed by armed groups in eastern DRC,” he added.

The agency called for security in the region to be scaled up urgently to protect civilians, many of whom have been attacked and forced to flee multiple times.

The ADF is the deadliest of scores of armed groups that roam the mineral-rich eastern DRC.

It is historically a Ugandan armed group that has holed up in eastern DRC since 1995. In March, the United States said the ADF was linked to ISIL (ISIS).

DR Congo on Thursday announced it will extend martial law in the restive region for 15 days, a month after civilian authorities were replaced with military administrations in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the wake of rising rebel attacks.

On May 6, the government imposed a state of siege to try to end the bloodshed.

Violence has been endemic in DRC’s mineral-rich eastern regions since the official end of the civil war in 2003, but insecurity has soared in the past two years.