Massacres mount in eastern DRC

Militants from the ISIS-aligned Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) killed at least 15 people, more than haf of them women, in attacks on the villages of Manyala and Ofay in Ituri province of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, local authorities reported Jan. 30. On Jan. 23, presumed ADF fighters massacred at least 20 people at a bar where local residents were drinking beer in Makugwe village, in the Beni region of neighboring North Kivu province. On Jan. 16, presumed ADF fighters killed some 20 Christian worshippers in a bomb attack on a church in Kasindi village, North Kivu. (MTT, VOA, Defense Post, BBC News)

On Jan. 20, fighters of the Congo Economic Development Cooperative (CODECO) killed seven people at Plaine Savo displaced persons camp near Djugu, Ituri. The massacre was reported by the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, MONUSCO. (TeleSur, IANS)

On Jan. 18, MONUSCO confirmed the discovery of 49 bodies, including those of six children, in two mass graves in the villages of Nyamamba and Mbogi, Ituri. Officials linked the finding to a mass killing by CODECO, a militia of the Lendu ethnic group, which has been in a rivalry with a local pastoralist people, the Hema. (Jurist

The M23 rebel group, said to be backed by Rwanda, has meanwhile captured new territory in North Kivu. The group withdrew from some occupied areas last month following a ceasefire and the deployment of an East African regional intervention force. But fighting continued elsewhere, and the rebels have now entered the Masisi territory of North Kivu for the first time, severing an important road to Goma, the largest city in the DRC's east. 

Regional tensions rose after Rwanda fired on a Congolese fighter jet Jan. 24, claiming it had breached its airspace. Kinshasa denied the accusation and called the shooting "an act of war." (TNH)