Local sources speaking to media said ADF rebels carried out an attack in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo this week, resulting in the deaths of at least 12 villagers.
A civil society group leader reported that fighters belonging to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) launched an attack on villagers working in their fields in Ituri province on Thursday.
On Friday, local residents discovered nine bodies in the village of Elake Nord and an additional three in Apesiko.
Local officials expressed concerns that there might be more bodies in a nearby forest that is challenging to access.
The toll was confirmed by Matadi Muyapandi, the administrator of the Mambasa territory and Ibra Mugeni, a prominent local figure. Mugeni revealed that the three individuals slain in Apesiko were discovered in a tied-up and decapitated state.
The ADF is among the numerous armed groups operating in eastern Congo, representing a legacy of regional conflicts that arose following the ousting of Mobutu Sese Seko, the longtime dictator of the vast African nation, during the 1990s.
The Islamic State terror group claims the ADF as its central African affiliate.
Initially, the ADF was a coalition of armed Ugandan groups with a Muslim-majority composition. Infamous for its brutality, the ADF is considered one of the most lethal militias in the region, facing accusations of committing mass atrocities resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians.
In 2021, Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi declared a state of siege in Ituri and the neighboring North Kivu province as part of a renewed effort to eliminate the ADF from their strongholds.
As part of the implemented measures, security officials were assigned the responsibility of administering local governments.
Additionally, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) initiated collaborative military operations with Uganda in November 2021 to combat the ADF.