Five civilians were killed Wednesday, Sept. 15, evening in an attack by armed individuals suspected to be combatants of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) on the village of Muthendero situated in the Isale group to the south of Beni territory of North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to Timothee Kombi, leader of the civil society in Isale, the attack was launched at 11 p.m. and the assailants targeted Muvuhombwe and Kilahu.
“They killed at least five persons, three of whom were slaughtered at a funeral, among whom was Katembo Kamali, a cultural guard in the Bashu chiefdom,” Kombi revealed.
In the panic that followed the attack, the assailants razed at least seven houses, according to information from the provincial parliamentarian Saidi Balikwisha.
Mwami Abdoul Kalemire III, the chief of Bashu chiefdom, who confirmed news of the attack said the casualty figure might be higher, as his people are still combing various areas of the town to recover other corpses.
He revealed that was the first attack by rebels on Muthendero, a sacred site of the Yira people located between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
“Muthendero is an important site in the local culture. First, it is there that the guardian of the customs of Basukali (one of the Nande clans) resides,” explains writer Christian Muke, author of the book La Nation Yira.
“It is also an important ritual site for the Yira, who are the Nande of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Konzo of Uganda where rituals for abundance are practiced. It is thus our culture that has been touched.”
Attacks on the Bashu chiefdom have increased in recent times and within the past one month, 24 people have so far been killed. Since last week, thousands of people have been fleeing from their villages within the chiefdom due to repeated attacks by ADF rebels.
The villages being targeted by the ADF include Kilahu, Vuhombe, Muthethero, Kathikali, Shahuma, Kalambi, and Vulambo which lead to the towns of Butembo and Kyondo.
Each of these villages is inhabited by over 5000 people.
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