IS Group Says It Killed 35 Christians in Village

US has offered $5M reward in hunt for leader in response to attacks in Congo
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 11, 2023 12:14 PM CST
Attack on Village Leaves 35 Dead: IS-Linked Group
A burned-out hut is seen in the Democratic Republic of Congo North Kivu province village of Mukondi on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Socrate Mumbere)

The Islamic State group has issued a statement claiming responsibility for killing more than 35 people and wounding dozens in eastern Congo. In the statement, posted Friday by Aamaq, the militants' news agency, it said it killed Christians with guns and knives and destroyed their property in Mukondi village in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It also published a photo of the houses on fire, the AP reports. The announcement comes after local authorities confirmed that at least 45 people were killed last week in several attacks on different villages by rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces, a militia with links to IS.

Conflict has been simmering in eastern Congo for decades as more than 120 armed groups fight for power, influence, and resources, and some to protect their communities. The ADF has been largely active in North Kivu province but has recently extended its operations into neighboring Ituri province and to areas near the regional capital, Goma. Efforts to stem the violence against ADF have yielded little. A nearly yearlong joint operation by Uganda and Congo's armies did not achieve the expected results of defeating or substantially weakening the group, said a report in December by a panel of UN experts. The ADF rebels are accused by the UN and rights groups of maiming, raping, and abducting civilians, including children.

Earlier this month, the US offered a reward of up to $5 million for information that could lead to the capture of the group's leader, Seka Musa Baluku. On Thursday, AP reporters saw bodies lowered into a mass grave in Mukondi. Community members shoveled dirt over the bodies against a backdrop of destroyed houses and said the government wasn't doing enough to protect them. "As you see in Mukondi, it is always the same: ADF, which is always ill-intentioned against the Congolese," said Col. Charles Ehuta Omeonga, military administrator for Beni region. "We lost many of our brothers."

(More Democratic Republic of Congo stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.