12 knifed to death in new DR Congo attack blamed on ADF militia

 A Democratic Republic of Congo soldier is seen on patrol in the village of Manzalaho, near Beni, Feb. 18, 2020, following an alleged attack by members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group. PHOTO/ AFP

Twelve people have been killed in a fresh attack by the notorious ADF militia in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a local official said on Wednesday.

The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) - the bloodiest of more than 120 armed groups that roam eastern DRC - on Tuesday attacked the villages of Samboko, Tchani-Tchani and Kapoka, said Donat Kibwana, the local territorial administrator.

"Twelve people were knifed to death and others were forcibly abducted," said Kibwana, in charge of Beni Territory in North Kivu province.

Mathe Kwirathwiwe, a civil social representative in Samboko, gave a death toll of 15, including a soldier who was part of a counter-attack that led to the release of 10 hostages.

The three villages are located in an enclave called Beni-Mbau, in the far north of North Kivu, on the border with Ituri province.

The ADF is a historically Ugandan Islamist group that has holed up in eastern DRC since 1995. 

On March 11, the US said the ADF were linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS) group, and were known as ISIS-DRC or Madina at Tauheed Wau Mujahedeen.

In a statement released through its propaganda site, the IS claimed responsibility for two attacks on "two Congolese army posts" in villages in the Rwenzori sector in southeastern Beni territory.

Three Congolese soldiers were killed, it said.

AFP could not immediately reach the DRC's armed forces for comment.

Last Friday, the UN said a surge of ADF attacks since the start of the year had claimed nearly 200 lives and forced 40,000 people to flee their homes.

According to the Kivu Security Tracker, an NGO that monitors violence in the DRC's troubled east, the group has killed more than 1,200 civilians in the Beni area alone since 2017.