KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — At least 17 people were killed by extremist rebels in eastern Congo’s North Kivu province, local authorities said.
Civilians were killed by fighters with the Allied Democratic Forces — believed to be linked with the Islamic State group — in the Bambuba-kisiki area in Beni territory, said Sabiti Njiamoja, a deputy to the local governor, on Monday.
“We buried 10 bodies on Sunday. The victims are civilians killed by ADF between Thursday and Friday in Kainana. Seven others were found on Monday,” he said.
Conflict has been simmering for decades in eastern Congo, where more than 120 armed groups are fighting. Most are vying for land and control of mines with valuable minerals, while some groups are trying to protect their communities.
Since last April, ADF attacks have killed at least 370 civilians and several hundred people have been abducted, including a significant number of children, according to the UN. The group also extended its area of operations to Goma and into the neighboring Ituri province.
In March, the group claimed responsibility for killing more than 35 people and wounding dozens in Mukondi village, also in North Kivu province.
The fighting is exacerbating eastern Congo’s dire humanitarian crisis. Almost 6 million people are internally displaced in Congo with more than 450,000 displaced in North Kivu province. Hundreds of thousands are facing extreme food insecurity, and disease is spreading, aid groups say.