In a disturbing development, the Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for the killing of more than 35 “Christians” and injuring dozens in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to Aamaq, the militants’ news agency, it had killed the Christians with guns and knives and also destroyed their properties in Mukondi village in North Kivu province.
The attack reportedly occurred on Friday, when militants attacked the village in North Kivu province. Local officials said the assailants arrived on motorcycles and began shooting indiscriminately, killing dozens of people and injuring several others. The victims were reportedly hacked to death with machetes, with many of the bodies left lying in the streets.
AP reports had it that dead bodies were seen being lowered into a mass grave in Mukondi community on Thursday, as community members packed dirt to cover the bodies saying the government was not actively protecting the people. “As you see in Mukondi, it is always the same. ADF, which is always ill-intentioned against the Congolese,” said Col. Charles Ehuta Omeonga, military administrator for Beni region. “We lost many of our brothers,” he said.
The attack has sent shockwaves throughout the country, which has been plagued by violence and instability for decades. The Congolese government has condemned the attack, and has vowed to take all necessary measures to bring the perpetrators to justice. The IS group has been active in the region for several years, and has been responsible for a number of deadly attacks. The group has also been known to target Christians in particular, whom they view as enemies of Islam.
The UN peacekeeping mission in the country has expressed concern over the escalating violence, and has called for urgent action to protect civilians. In a statement, the mission said it was “deeply concerned by the reports of violence and loss of life” in Beni, and called on all parties to “refrain from any further violence.” The attack has also drawn condemnation from religious leaders in the country, who have called for an end to the violence and for the protection of all citizens, regardless of their religious affiliation. The situation in Congo remains volatile, with numerous armed groups operating in the region and competing for control over resources. The government has struggled to maintain order and protect civilians, and has been criticized for its handling of the security situation.
The latest attack by the IS group serves as a reminder of the ongoing threat posed by extremist groups in the region, and the urgent need for action to address the root causes of the violence and insecurity.