Ugandan soldiers among five dead in DR Congo attack

Rebels backed by the Islamic State group have killed two Ugandan soldiers in an attack that also left two civilians and a suspected assailant dead in eastern DR Congo, authorities said on Saturday.

Two truck drivers, a Kenyan and a Congolese, were shot dead Friday night by IS-affiliated Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) at a car park in Kasindi, Beni territory, said Barthelemy Kambale, a North Kivu provincial civil servant.

A fifth dead body was assumed to be an assailant, he told AFP.

Kasindi was the scene of a Pentecostal church bombing blamed on the ADF which killed about 15 people last January, and for which IS claimed responsibility.

Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) launched a joint offensive in 2021 against the ADF to drive the militants out of their Congolese strongholds, but attacks have continued.

Originally fielding mainly Muslim Ugandan rebels, the ADF gained a foothold in the region in the 1990s and are accused of slaughtering thousands of civilians.

Ugandan soldiers among five dead in DR Congo attack

“The ADF enemy arrived about 22:30 (2030 GMT), our forces blocked the road against the rebels,” said Kambale, adding that “two Ugandan soldiers died during the operation”.

Three vehicles were burnt out, he said.

“People are angry, they burned the body of a dead ADF,” said a local civil society representative, asking not to be named.

Twenty-six civilians died overnight Monday-Tuesday in a massacre attributed to the ADF near Oicha town, also in Beni territory, which has been the epicentre of the years-long rampage by the ADF, called Islamic State Central Africa Province by IS.

In Uganda, police said the ADF were behind the murder of a honeymoon couple and their safari guide in the nation’s Queen Elizabeth National Park on October 17. IS claimed responsibility for the attack.

Numerous militia groups and rebels hold sway in eastern DRC despite the presence of peacekeepers.