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DR Congo Army Frees 150 Hostages Held By ADF Rebels

The hostages were being held as human shields by the ADF rebels, and have now been rescued.

The national army of the Democratic Republic of Congo, FARDC, Sunday, July 25, 2021 announced it had freed 150 civilians who had been held hostage by rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

“After offensives against the ADF from 18 to 20 July in the localities of Boga and Tchabi in the territory of Irumu in Ituri province, the army was able to liberate 150 civilians: women, old persons, youths and children,” Jules Ngongo, the army spokesperson in Ituri revealed.

“Those freed were not combatants. They were civilians in captivity who were used by the ADF as human shields. Presently, they are freely carrying out their normal occupations.”

The localities of Boga and Tchabi are situated about 120 kilometres south of Bunia, chief town of the Ituri province where ADF rebels have extended their presence.

Twenty persons from Boga were effectively freed after being held captive for several days “but 16 persons are still missing,” the chief of the locality, Rubingo Kabimba revealed.

The authorities had towards the end of May this year accused ADF rebels of killing at least 50 civilians in the villages of Boga and Tchabi where they had equally attacked a refugee camp.

The ADF which is of Ugandan origin has pitched tents in the DR Congo for the past thirty years and has no longer been attacking the Ugandan government forces which it was originally intended to fight against.

The ADF has distinguished itself as the most murderous among the over one hundred armed groups active in Eastern DR Congo. They have been accused of massacring at least 6,000 civilians since 2013, according to figures given by the Congolese Episcopal Council.

Since April 2019, some attacks by the ADF have been claimed by the jihadist Islamic State on social media. The Islamic State has since designated the ADF as being part of its Islamic State Central African Province (ISCAP).

The United States had in March this year placed the ADF on the list of terrorist organizations affiliated to the Islamic State.

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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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