At least 18 people have been killed in a raid in the village of Otomabere in eastern Congo on Sunday. Homes were burned down and the residents were slaughtered by the ADF, said officials.
An attack by suspected Islamists on Sunday night has left at least 18 people dead in a village in eastern Congo.
Militants believed to be from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) burned down houses and killed residents in the village of Otomabere, in Irumu territory, Ituri province, the information was confirmed by witnesses, a local human rights group, and a local chief.
Jules Ngongo, a spokesperson for the Congolese army confirmed the ADF attack, but did not give a death toll, he said that Congolese forces were in pursuit of those responsible for the killings.
The ADF is a Ugandan militia that moved into eastern Congo in the 1990s. The group frequently carries out brutal attacks on villages, and according to a United Nations report, is responsible for killing more than 1,300 people between January 2021 and January 2022.
Kimwenza Malembe, a resident of Otomabere, said: "We were chatting with some friends outside when we heard gunshots, and everyone fled in a different direction. It was total panic.
"This morning we counted 18 dead, killed by knives and firearms," he added.
Jonas Izorabo Lemi, Irumu chief, said that he had heard that 20 people had been killed. A co-ordinator of the local group Convention for the Respect of Human Rights (CRDH), also said that the provisional death toll was 20.
So far, Uganda has sent more than 1,700 soldiers to neighbouring Congo to help them fight the ADF, just last week the two countries extended their joint operation that launched last year.
A government spokesperson for Congo, Patrick Muyaya said that on Monday, further south, in North Kivu province, heavy fighting continued between the Congolese army and the M23, a rebel group that claims to represent the interests of ethnic Tutsis.
The Congolese government has accused Rwanda of supporting the M23, an accusation that Rwanda strongly denies. The resurgence of the group in recent weeks has caused a rift between the two neighbouring countries.