Seventeen people were shot dead during a fresh attack by Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels in the forest of Idohu village in Irumu, Ituri province, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
According to survivors and the Convention for the Respect of Human Rights (CRDH), an organization that monitors security in the region, the rebels attacked the area on Sunday night emerging from the nearby hill identified as Israel and started shooting at locals, killing 17. They also say that many were arrested and taken hostage.
The organization and survivors indicate that locals claim to have seen the bodies of seventeen people, including five pygmies killed by the rebels. Thirteen other people are still in the hands of the ADF.
Dieudonné Malangayi, a civil society coordinator in the area says that on Tuesday evening, a dozen of traumatized victims arrived in Idohu, 30 kilometers from Komanda after escaping from the rebels. Among the surviving victims included children. He said that five other victims who managed to escape arrived on Wednesday in Takumanda.
ADF rebels have continued to carry out surprise attacks against locals despite the presence of FARDC and UPDF in the area to combat its operations since November 30, 2021. On December 22, 2021, the rebels shot a truck that was transporting food between Makumo and Lukaya in Bangole. The truck was heading to Biakato in the territory of Mambasa (Ituri) from North Kivu. In the same month, the rebels attacked Mahu village, the Bangole group in Mambasa territory in Ituri province, and burnt seven tons of cocoa that was stored in Kivu agricultural trading company. The rebels also killed five people during the attack.
Joint security operations are also registering progress towards the fight against the rebels. On December 26, 2021, Lieutenant Jules Ngongo, spokesperson of the FARDC in Ituri province announced that seven rebels were on that day killed in the village of Bandindese, 18 kilometers from Komanda in the Irumu territory. Two AK 47 guns were also recovered from the rebels.
In the same month, combined UPDF Air Force and artillery shelled Kambi Ya Yua, Tondoli, Belu1, and Belu2 in North Kivu province in Virunga and Ituri impenetrable forests of Eastern DRC, according to Major General Muhanga Kayanja, the overall commander of operation shujaa.
The ADF has for several years operated in the volatile North Kivu which borders other provinces including Ituri to the North and South Kivu to the South and has been a battleground for a number of rival armed ethnic groups since 1998. The province consists of three cities including; Goma, Butembo, and Beni as well as six territories–Beni, Lubero, Masisi, Rutshuru.
ADF has been blamed for the recent attacks in Kampala that leftover seven people dead. It is also being blamed for the Christmas day attack at InBox restaurant-bar, located on Boulevard Nyamwisi, Beni city, eastern DR Congo that left eight people dead and 20 injured.