AFRICA/DR CONGO - At least 32 people die in a series of attacks

Thursday, 1 February 2024 massacres   terrorism  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - A series of attacks on villages in North Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), that began on January 27 and continued until yesterday, January 31, left at least 32 civilians dead. According to local sources, at least three villages were attacked by armed groups allegedly linked to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group of Ugandan origin that has been aligned with the Islamic State for years (on the complex history of this group and its affiliation to the Islamic State, see Fides, 24/6/2023). Authorities reported that at least eight people were beheaded, five of them during a religious ceremony on Sunday, January 28, in the town of Baeti-Vutchika in North Kivu. According to local sources, the killed believers belong to the so-called "Branhamite Christians", a group that originated in the United States, was founded by William Marrion Branham and has spread to various parts of the world, including Africa whose teaching denies the Trinity. Following attacks on Ugandan soil also attributed to this militia (two attacks in western Uganda that killed 13 villagers), Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo launched a joint military operation against the ADF called "Shujaa" in late 2021, which did not stop the rebels from continuing to attack civilians.
For decades the three eastern provinces of the DRC (Ituri, North and South Kivu) have been plagued by the violence committed by more than 120 groups fighting for control of the area and to grab the valuable mineral resources of which they are rich. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides,1/2/2024)