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Suspected rebel attack in DR Congo leaves 16 dead

3-day mourning declared in Beni territory, says army

James Tasamba   | 23.07.2021
Suspected rebel attack in DR Congo leaves 16 dead

KIGALI, Rwanda 

At least 16 civilians were killed Thursday when suspected members of the Ugandan-based Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group ambushed a truck in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The attack in the Beni area of North Kivu province, which also left eight wounded, occurred in the village of Kapoka, local media reported, citing local authorities.

“The attack took place at 3 p.m. local time. The assailants ambushed a Fuso-type civilian vehicle which was heading to the city of Oicha from Tchanitchani,” it said. “Some 15 people died on the spot, killed using machetes and bullets, while one victim among the injured died of his injuries at a hospital in Oicha.”

The victims included six women and a child.

The Kivu Security Tracker, a monitoring group, blamed the ADF for the deaths of more than 1,200 civilians in the Beni area since 2017.

Meanwhile, three days of mourning were declared Friday in the Beni territory to pay tribute to victims of the attack, according to a statement by the army.

The mourning period will be dedicated to the burial of bodies and organizing funerals from different families.

The mood in Oicha was somber Friday as all bodies were kept at the Oicha general hospital mortuary pending burials.

Civil society groups had called for a mass burial but the idea was being opposed by families.

“Our wish as a civil society is that all bodies be buried together in one place. Unfortunately, some families oppose it,” Janvier Kasairyo, one of Beni's civil society representatives, told reporters.

In May, President Felix Tshisekedi proclaimed a “state of siege” in North Kivu and neighboring Ituri province in efforts to curb growing insecurity --replacing senior civilian officials with army officers.

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