Suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels attacked Congolese army positions and civilian neighborhoods in Beni (North Kivu province) on Saturday, October 20, and Sunday, October 21, killing 15 people. The armed rebels also reportedly abducted at least 12 children. A spokesperson for the UN peacekeeping mission confirmed its troops exchanged gunfire with the rebels in the city.
The violence was followed by a protest on October 21 by Beni residents, who carried several bodies to the town hall. Protesters also threw stones at buildings and vehicles occupied by the UN and other international aid organizations, prompting police to use tear gas to disperse the crowd. Similar rebel attacks are possible in Beni over the coming days and weeks.
The ADF is a Ugandan Islamist militant group that has been active in North Kivu province since the late 1990s. Notably, the group is suspected of having carried out an attack on UN peacekeepers in Beni territory (North Kivu province) in December 2017, killing at least 15 peacekeepers and wounding some 53 others. In general, the Congolese government's limited presence in the eastern provinces, including North Kivu, as well as the presence of numerous armed groups (such as the ADF) and local self-defense militias (Maï-Maï militias) have led to continued insecurity in the area.
Individuals in North Kivu province are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, avoid the affected area, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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