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07 Mar 2020 | 11:20 PM UTC

DRC: Soldiers engage rebels near Beni (North Kivu province) March 7 /update 1

FARDC soldiers engage suspected ADF rebels near Beni (North Kivu province) on March 7; at least 17 people killed in the fighting

security
COD

Event

The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) engaged suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militants near Beni (North Kivu province) on Saturday, March 7. FARDC soldiers reportedly discovered several ADF camps along the Semuliki River and launched operations to destroy them. According to military officials, at least 13 rebels and four soldiers were killed in the fighting; at least another five soldiers were also wounded. The FARDC is reportedly searching for militants who withdrew from the area.

Further security operations targeting ADF positions and attacks by rebel forces are possible in North Kivu province over the near term.

Context

The government's limited presence in the DRC's eastern provinces, as well as the presence of numerous armed groups and local self-defense militias, has led to continued insecurity in the area.

The ADF is a Ugandan Islamist militant group that has been active in North Kivu province since the late 1990s. There has been local and international speculation regarding potential links between ADF rebels and Islamic State (IS) militants. According to local civil society activists, more than 200 civilians have been killed in almost daily attacks suspected to have been carried out by ADF militants in North Kivu since early November, when security operations began to combat ADF fighters.

Advice

Individuals in North Kivu province are advised to remain vigilant for militant activity, monitor developments to the situation, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.