A fresh attack in the volatile region of Beni, in eastern DR Congo, has left at least seven dead.
The night raid on 22 Sep., which targeted communities in Kasinga, about 5km from the town of Beni, was carried out by suspected Islamist militants from the ADF-NALU group, local sources told World Watch Monitor.
Dozens of properties were also burned down. An undetermined number of injured and displaced people have sought refuge in churches and other, relatively safe, areas of Beni.
Beni is a predominantly Christian area, as is most of DRC, but Independent Catholic News reports that within a few years the number of Muslims in eastern DRC has risen from 1% to 10%.
ADF-NALU was originally rooted in a rebel movement to overthrow Uganda’s government and replace it with an Islamist fundamentalist state, but it was forced to re-locate over the border into DRC. For years now, the radical group has been trying to uproot Christians from north-east DRC through attacks, rape, looting, kidnap and murder – on an almost weekly basis.
In May, local civil society organisations wrote to Congolese President Joseph Kabila to denounce the ongoing killings, which, they said, had claimed 1,116 lives between October 2014 and May 2016. That’s an average of 60 killed per month, or two a day, points out their letter.
It says some 1,470 others were abducted, while 34,297 families were forcibly displaced or are now unaccounted for. There were also numerous cases of sexual violence against women and children.