Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 19 people and burned a medical facility in a raid on a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo early on Sunday morning, two regional officials and a resident said.
The attack, which occurred around 1 a.m. (2300 GMT) in the village of Kirindera in North Kivu province, took place just a few kilometres from another attack on a village that killed at least 35 people last week.
The army blamed last week’s attack on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group based in eastern Congo that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State. A resident of a nearby village and a member of local civil society blamed Sunday’s attack on the ADF.
“The ADF arrived, they set fire to a hospital after looting it with medicines, and they set fire to a hotel,” said Sadame Patanguli, the resident.
He said the militants kidnapped several others, who are now missing. The details of the burned buildings and the death toll were confirmed by two regional officials.
The ADF was created in Uganda before moving to eastern Congo in the 1990s, and has been blamed for thousands of deaths in the last decade.
The killings have continued despite efforts by the army, which is also fighting the rebel group M23, whose offensive in recent months has displaced 600,000 people. Congo says the group is backed by neighbouring Rwanda, which Rwanda denies.
Meanwhile, public support for the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in eastern Congo, known as MONUSCO, has plummeted because of what local residents say is its inability to stem the violence.
A delegation from the UN Security Council toured North Kivu this weekend, including to a camp for displaced people.
“There are no magic solutions, it’s not the United Nations that will solve the problem on its own,” said Nicolas de Riviere, the French ambassador to the UN. “We need a political negotiation, we need a security solution.”