Suspected ADF rebel attack has killed three civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo, local officials said Saturday, in the latest atrocity blamed on the grouping the Islamic State group calls its affiliate.
The killings come amid an unprecedented offensive by Congolese and Ugandan troops against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the deadliest militia in eastern DRC.
The three civilians were killed on Friday evening on a major road as “a group of ADF (fighters) passed” in the Beni territory in North Kivu province, local civil society leader Patrick Musubao told AFP.
Six others were also injured by a bomb blast at the entrance to a large market in Beni, not far from police installations, mayor Narcisse Muteba Kashale told AFP.
The ADF has been blamed for thousands of deaths in eastern DRC, as well as a spate of recent bomb attacks in the Ugandan capital Kampala.
Late last year, Ugandan and Congolese troops launched an unprecedented offensive against the ADF but two months later, the operation’s effectiveness remains unclear.
Kinshasa says the joint mission against the ADF is succeeding, even going so far as to say the rebels are “at bay”.
But deadly attacks are continuing, both on civilians and security forces.
The ADF was historically a Ugandan rebel coalition whose biggest group comprised Muslims opposed to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
But it established itself in eastern DRC in 1995, becoming the deadliest of scores of outlawed forces in the troubled region.
The Islamic State group presents the ADF as its regional branch — the Islamic State Central Africa Province, or ISCAP.
In March last year, the United States placed the ADF on its list of “terrorist groups” affiliated with IS jihadists.