Armed ViolenceNews

Civilians Fleeing Komanda Town As ADF Rebels Abduct Children Into Bushes

Children and adults were forced to carry ADF loots into bushes but only the adults were allowed to return.

Residents of Komanda, a town in the Basili chiefdom, 75 km to the south of Bunia in Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of Congo are massively abandoning the town following an attack by Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels Thursday Sept. 23, 2021.

According to local civil society sources, four civilians were killed in the attack and thirty houses were razed by the ADF assailants.

“People are abandoning Komanda. Some are fleeing to Kisangani, others to Bunia while others prefer going to North Kivu,” Daniel Herabo, President of the Komanda civil society revealed.

Several persons who were forced by the ADF to carry the things they looted from the town have since not been heard from. Some adults from among the commandeered persons were released later but several children have been retained in the bushes by the rebels.

“They released fifteen persons mainly adults but retained the children whose ages range between nine and twenty years. The ADF rebels are reported to be camping in the forests around Mont Oyo”, our sources reveal.

All day Friday, movements by women and children were visible on the national highway number four.

The Thursday attacks targeted the localities of Bogi, Kipe ya Yo, and Vingazi, all of which have been almost completely abandoned.

The attacks by the ADF combatants are the first on Komanda which is an intersection between the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu as well as Tshopo on the national highway number four. 

Komanda is a commercial centre with a high concentration of agricultural activities. Many observers of the scene have expressed disquiet with the mounting incidences of rebel attacks in the zone.

“As Komanda has been affected by these attacks, there is the risk and fears that the rebels may extend the attacks to Kisangani,” declared an inhabitant of the region who refused to disclose his identity.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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