Seven civilians were killed in two attacks by rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) on Bela and Ngwaba villages on the Mangina-Mambasa highway in the Mambembe-Beli tribal group.
According to Janvier Musoki, chief of the Mambembe-Bela tribal group, the two attacks took place respectively on Sunday, Dec. 12 around 6 p.m. and the second on Monday morning, Dec. 13.
Musoki revealed that four of the victims were killed in Bela, and two burnt in a truck and three others in Ngwaba during the first attack by the rebels, while during the second attack an ADF rebel was killed and two police officers wounded.
“Up until this Tuesday, we have recorded eight corpses, seven of which were civilians and one ADF. Of the four corpses in Bela, two of which were burnt in a truck, only three have been buried. In Ngwaba there are three corpses which are not yet buried,” he said, adding that the burnt vehicle was coming from Bykato-Makumo with an important quantity of cocoa.
“An ADF fighter was also killed here in Bela when they wanted to attack the village again on Monday morning. That is the count. But the figures may be higher after searches in the peripheries of Bela and Ngwaba.”
Following the ADF attacks, thousands of villagers have fled from Bela and its environs in search of refuge in Mangina, Mabalako, Cantine, Kyanzaba, and Beni town.
The villagers are unwilling to return to the two villages despite the presence of soldiers, Musoki said.
“The situation is calm now. We are with the national army which is in control of the situation but almost the entire village is empty. Of the 14,000 inhabitants we have in Bela and environs, there are only about 1,000 remaining in the village now,” he added,
The attack on Bela came less than a week after that which cost the lives of 15 persons in Mangina which is seven kilometres from Bela.
These attacks have been causing hardship in the region because they interrupt traffic on the Mangina-Mambassa highway which remains the sole convenient hub on Congolese soil for travelers leaving North Kivu to the far Oriental province, avoiding ADF activities on the Beni-Eringeti-Komanda highway, which is part of the national highway number four.
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