Suspected militants launched a coordinated attack on a prison in the North Kivu province town of Beni early on Tuesday, October 20, releasing hundreds of prisoners. Reports state that around 900 prisoners were freed during the incident, with only 100 still being detained. The attack was accompanied by a simultaneous assault on the military camp defending the Kangbayi central prison. Authorities have claimed that Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militants were responsible for the attack. No casualties were immediately reported in either incident.
Further militant attacks and security operations are likely in North Kivu in the near term.
The ADF, a Ugandan Islamist militant group that has been present in North Kivu province since the late 1990s, has been increasingly active in the Beni region in recent months, staging dozens of attacks on local communities and security forces. According to the UN figures, more than 1000 civilians have been killed in attacks by the group since the beginning of 2019.
Those in North Kivu are advised to remain vigilant for rebel and militia activity, monitor developments, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
A number of Western governments advise their citizens against travel to the east and northeast of the country due to poor security conditions, including the presence of armed groups and a high risk of kidnapping. Professional security advice should be sought prior to travel.
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