Suspected Allied Democratic Forces militants have killed no fewer than 40 people in twin attacks in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, local officials said on Thursday.
The ADF, which the Islamic State group claims as its central African affiliate, is one of the deadliest armed militias in Eastern Congo, accused of slaughtering thousands of civilians.
Fighters from the group attacked the neighbouring villages of Mukondi and Mausa, in the Beni territory of North Kivu province, during Wednesday evening and the early hours of Thursday, officials said.
Kalunga Meso, a local administrator, said, “It’s total desolation, “They rounded up people and then executed them.”
He told AFP that 38 people had been killed in Mukondi and eight in Mausa, stressing the death toll was provisional.
Mumbere Arsene, a local civil-society figure, said 37 people had been killed in Mukondi and eight in Mausa.
“All the dead people were killed with knives,” he said.
The Kivu Security Tracker, a respected violence monitor, on Thursday, said that armed men had killed at least 30 people in Mukondi, by machete.
The death toll was unable to be confirmed.
The ADF is among the most violent of the dozens of armed groups active in eastern Congo and has been accused of a string of bomb attacks and civilian massacres.
Thousands have died at its hands, many of them in the Beni region, say monitors.
A joint Congolese-Ugandan military operation targeting the militia in Eastern DRC has been underway since late 2021, but attacks have continued.
Last week, the United States offered a reward of up to $5 million for information concerning ADF leader, Seka Musa Baluku.