GOMA, Congo (Reuters) – Congolese soldiers started a military offensive in the eastern city of Beni on Saturday versus the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan rebel armed group blamed for an attack that eliminated 15 United Nations peacekeepers last month.
The operation belongs to a collaboration by Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda versus the group after the presumed ADF attack on a base manned by Tanzanian peacekeeping soldiers.
That attack, which likewise eliminated 5 Congolese soldiers and injured another 53 peacekeepers, came amidst an increasing wave of violence in the mineral-rich, ethnically unstable location.
” Because today, we have actually introduced a basic offensive versus the ADF phenomena,” General Marcel Mbangu, leader in charge of Congo’s North Kivu province, informed a brand-new conference.
” This is, for us, the last offensive. We will combat them up until completion, up until we have actually protected our area,” he included.
Locals reported the noises of shooting and surges in Beni on Saturday.
Competing militia groups manage parts of eastern Congo long after the main end of a 1998-2003war where countless individuals passed away, mainly from appetite and illness.
A rise in militia violence throughout the nation, which followed President Joseph Kabila’s rejection to step down when his required ended simply over a year back, has actually raised worries Congo might move into full-blown war once again.
The Islamist ADF has actually long been active along the Congo-Uganda border and has actually been blamed for a wave of massacres. Last month Uganda introduced air campaign and weapons attacks on ADF positions on its side.
Composing by Tim Cocks; Modifying by Ros Russell