Violence has again tragically struck in North Kivu. At least ten people were killed and 39 injured on Sunday in a bombing at a church in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), attributed by the authorities to an armed group affiliated with the Islamic State. Sunday night, The Islamic State has also claimed responsibility for the attack which, according to him, left “nearly 20” dead, according to the monitoring group of Islamist networks Site.
This “purely terrorist act” took place in a Pentecostal church in Kasindi, a border town with Uganda in the province of North Kivu, explained the spokesman of the DRC army, Antony Mualushayi. He also announced the arrest of a suspect of Kenyan nationality, adding that investigations were underway. For his part, the spokesman for the Ugandan military operation in the DRC, Bilal Katamba, mentioned 16 dead and 20 injured.
The French Embassy “horrified”
The DRC presidency condemned the attack, as did the UN peacekeeping mission, with the French embassy saying on Twitter “horrified”. On the same social network, the Congolese Ministry of Communication spoke of a ” attack bombing visibly perpetrated by ADF terrorists”, the Allied Democratic Forces.
The ADF, Muslim rebels of Ugandan origin, are active in the north of North Kivu and in the south of Ituri, another Congolese province. They are among the deadliest of some 120 armed groups present in eastern DRC, many of which are the legacy of regional conflicts that erupted at the turn of the 21st century. These groups seek to control territories for ethnic reasons and/or to extract rich resources from the soil, often encouraged and financed by neighboring countries.
Regions under “state of siege” since May 2021
The ADF are accused of having massacred thousands of Congolese civilians and carrying out bomb attacks in Uganda. In 2021, the United States placed the ADF in its list of “foreign terrorist organizations”, in connection with the Islamic State group. Since the same year, a joint Congolese-Ugandan military operation began targeting the ADF in Congolese territory. But the attacks continued.
Since May 2021, North Kivu and Ituri have been placed under a “state of siege” by Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi, in an attempt to stop the violence, with military officials replacing civilian administrators. But this exceptional measure has also largely failed to stem the attacks. For the past week, at least sixty civilians have been killed in Ituri.