Militant extremists kill 57 villagers in attacks on mainly-Christian north-east DRC

10 June 2020

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10 June 2020

At least 57 people were killed in renewed attacks by jihadists on villages in the mainly-Christian north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, at the end of May.

Members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamist militant group active in the region for more than two decades, attacked Samboko village on 26 May, murdering with machetes more than 40 villagers and looting food and other valuables.

A day earlier, on 25 May, the extremists attacked the nearby village of Makutano, killing at least 17 people.

More than 700 people have been killed in Ituri province, where the two villages are located, since 2017, according to the UN. The north-east region has seen a surge of violence since October 2019, when the army launched a large-scale offensive against the ADF.

In January, the ADF murdered Pastor Ngulongo Year Batsemire, 60, after he refused their demands to convert to Islam. On the same day, militants murdered at least 30 people in a raids on four villages in the Beni region. Barnabas contacts reported that the rise in the violence caused many Christians to flee.

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Democratic Republic of Congo