ISIS attack in DR Congo kills at least 22 including children

ISIS attack in DR Congo kills at least 22 including children

May 27, 2021

Machete-wielding ISIS fanatics slaughter 22 – including women and children – with at least 13 people beheaded in Congo massacre

  • Allied Democratic Forces militants attacked village in north east of DR Congo 
  • At least 22 people, including women and children, were killed in the raid 
  • 13 of the victims were bound up and beheaded, Congolese military says 
  • ADF has been active in Congo since 1995, and allied to ISIS some time in 2019 

At least 22 people have been killed – 13 of whom were beheaded – by ISIS fanatics in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Militants from the Allied Democratic Forces attacked villagers near the town of Beni, in the country’s northeast, late Tuesday, the country’s military says. 

An unspecified number of women and children are among the dead, officials said, adding that bodies are still being recovered from the surrounding jungle.

Several more villagers are thought to have been kidnapped, but the exact number of missing is unclear.

At least 22 people, including women and children, have been killed in a raid by Islamist militants known as the Allied Democratic Forces in DR Congo (file image, Congolese troops examine a village after an ADF raid in February 2020)

Aid workers in the area told reporters that at least 13 of the victims had been bound and decapitated.

A four-month-old baby was found alive on the back of one of the victims and is thought to have been orphaned, along with their six brothers and sisters. 

The body of their mother has yet to be found.

The attack comes three weeks after the military declared martial law in two provinces neighbouring Uganda – including the one where this latest attack to place – in response to rising violence. 

On May 17, Uganda announced it had agreed to share intelligence and coordinate operations against the rebels, but that it would not be deploying troops in Congo. 

Many of the attacks have been blamed on the ADF, a militant group based out of Uganda that has been active in DR Congo since at least 1995.

The group traces its roots to a group of ultra-conservative Muslim clerics that formed in Uganda in the 1980s, before developing a military wing that was ultimately smashed in a raid by government forces under then-President Yoweri Museveni.

Several dozen fighters survived the raid including a man named Jamil Mukulu – a former Catholic who converted to Islam and is believed to have met Osama bin Laden – who fled across the border to DR Congo and established the ADF.

The group’s stated aim is to overthrow the Ugandan government and found an Islamic state in its place. 

The ADF launched its first attack in 1996 on a border outpost in Uganda – according to researchers from Antwerp University – and has since fought against the Ugandan and Congolese militaries, which have failed to eradicate it.

Some time around May 2019 the group is thought to have allied itself to ISIS, after the terror organisation began claiming responsibility for its attacks.

In March this year the US declared the ADF a terrorist organisation, referring to it as ISIS-Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The State Department said it was responsible for the killings of 849 civilians in 2020 – with around 500 more killed since the start of this year, aid groups say.

The last bloodshed blamed on the ADF left 31 dead on May 12 northwest of Beni. 

The ADF is currently led by a man named Seka Musa Baluku and is thought to control a series of hidden camps which function as a proto-state with a population of around 2,000 people.

The camps include ‘an internal security service, a prison, health clinics, and an orphanage’, according to a Washington Post report in 2015.  

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