At least 23 civilians were killed on Sunday night (Jan. 22) in an attack attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in a village in the Democratic Republic of Congo's east (DRC), local sources said.
"Twenty-four people, including six women, were killed in this incursion of the ADF" in the village of Makugwe, in the territory of Beni in North Kivu, said Roger Wangeve, the president of the local civil society.
While in the village, the provincial deputy Saidi Balikwisha mentioned a toll of "23 people killed." He called for an increase in the number of "well-equipped military personnel" in the hope of being able to "anticipate enemy attacks."
According to Roger Wangeve, the victims included 17 people who were "in a small bar where they were drinking beer. The ADF "executed them all," he said.
At least seven residential houses were burned, three drugstores and 11 stores looted, while the number of "civilians taken into the bush is not yet known," added Mr. Wangeve.
"We lament and wonder: how can it be possible to kill the population a few meters from the military camp?" he wondered.
Seaking to the AFP Colonel Charles Omeonga, the administrator of the territory of Beni, said the armed forces were "in pursuit of the enemy" who, according to him, had "hidden in the population".
The ADF is a group of rebels made of Muslim fighters and from Ugandan origin. They are active in northern North Kivu and southern Ituri province bording Uganda and Rwanda.
This armed faction, presented by the jihadist group Islamic State (EI) as its branch in Central Africa, is one of the most deadly groups in the eastern region of the DRC.
Their last major action was on January 15, when at least 14 people were killed and 63 wounded in a bomb attack on a Pentecostal (Evangelical Protestant) church.
The ADF was placed on the U.S. list of "foreign terrorist organizations" in 2021, with links to the EI.