Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 40 in an overnight attack in a village in the east of the country, a local official in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, head of a civil society organization and a survivor said Thursday.
The attackers are believed to be members of the Allied Democratic Forces, a Ugandan armed group that has been active in eastern Congo for decades. The group has declared allegiance to the “Islamic State” group and frequently launches deadly attacks on villages, sometimes using machetes and axes.
The attack targeted the village of Mukundi, about 30 km south of the city of Beni, in North Kivu province, which has been plagued by rebel movements and has been under army administration since 2021 in an attempt to restore order.
Provincial governor Carly Nzanzo Casiveta said on Twitter early Thursday that at least 36 had been killed, and accused the ADF of being behind the attack.
The head of a civil society organization stated that the initial death toll was 44 people, including women, children and the elderly, and said that many residents of the village are still missing.
“The method of attack indicates the involvement of the ADF because no shots were fired,” he told Reuters by phone.
The local army spokesman confirmed the attack in a WhatsApp message, but did not say how many people were killed.