Eighteen dead in DR Congo rebel attack: army

At least 18 people, including

14 civilians, have been killed in a rebel attack in Beni in Democratic

Republic of Congo's restive east, an army spokesperson told AFP on Sunday.

Four soldiers were among the dead following the attack on Saturday

night, military official Mak Hazukai said, with witnesses describing gunfire

and groups of assailants slashing victims with machetes.

The Beni region, not far from the Ugandan border, is under siege from

the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamist rebel group blamed for

hundreds of civilian deaths over the past four years.

The territory and the city of Beni are facing ADF terrorism whose

command structure is led by Ugandans, said Hazukai, adding that nine people

were also wounded in Saturday's violence.

The ADF is a militia initially created by Muslim rebels to oppose Ugandan

President Yoweri Museveni, but also operates in the DRC.

The surprise attack happened in the streets of Beni city, a doctor at

the local hospital told AFP. Four of the dead were killed while travelling in

a taxi.

According to several witness accounts, the attack started around 1630-

1700 GMT.

There were lots of attackers, they gave a shout of joy The rebels cut

victims with a machete, witness Kasero Mumbi said.

Heavy and light calibre gunfire was heard for several hours until after

midnight local time. It was not known whether the army counter-attacked.

The rebels targeted areas near the centre of the city, home to several

hundred thousand people.

The people of North Kivu are suffering too much. This weekend again

many innocent people have died, Dutch Ambassador Robert Schuddeboom said.

The ADF has been in the east of DR Congo since 1995 and is accused by the

UN and Congolese authorities of committing a series of civilian massacres

since 2014.

However, in 2015 the New York University Study Group on Congo said it was

not just the ADF behind the killings and that other armed elements, including

members of the Congolese army, were also to blame.

Beni is in North Kivu province, one of the most populated areas of the

DRC, and home to a number of armed groups that kill or abduct civilians.

Foreign humanitarian workers have been stationed in Beni since early

August to deal with a new Ebola outbreak in the region.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)