It is the most violent conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, threatening regional stability: some 40 civilians were massacred by militiamen in ten days in the Beni region, in retaliation for the operations of the army against Ugandan rebels.
From Uganda to France, Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi spent the week seeking reinforcements to pacify the eastern part of the DRC.
A mining region, destabilized for 25 years by a multitude of small Congolese armed groups and some larger rebellions from neighboring countries (Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi).
Even before the president’s return home, fourteen civilians were still killed in the night from Friday to Saturday, not far from Uganda’s border.
In the territory of Beni, residents and authorities denounce the militia Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), alleged perpetrators of the massacre of more than 1,000 civilians in the region since October 2014.
« This is one of the deadliest armed groups in the Kivu, » wrote in November 2018 the Group of Experts of the Congo (GEC). While stating that « many actors, including the Congolese government » were also able to participate in the massacres of Beni, at the time of the former regime of President Joseph Kabila.
On Friday evening, the attackers « raided Mbau-center where they killed eight people with knives and then killed six pygmies one km away, » Donat Kibwana, territory administrator, told AFP of Beni.
Mysterious group, tucked away in the thick jungle of Virunga Park, the ADF has led at least four assaults on civilians since the October 30 announcement of a Congolese army offensive against their base.
At least 36 civilians killed, according to a source from the Kivu security barometer, co-facilitated by the Congo Group of Experts (GEC) and the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW).
« The ADFs want to dissuade the local population from cooperating with the army, » the source added. The militia would have targeted « pisteurs » who can inform the Congolese army in the forests at the foot of the Rowenzori massif, the stronghold of the ADF.