Ugandan rebel attack kills dozens in DRC

Jamil Mukulu surrounded by Tanzanian prison guards as he fought extradition to Uganda in May.(AP Photo/Khalfan Said, File)

Jamil Mukulu surrounded by Tanzanian prison guards as he fought extradition to Uganda in May.(AP Photo/Khalfan Said, File)

Dozens of people have been killed in the overnight raid by the Ugandan rebels Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) town of Eringeti, officials say.

Seven civilians, one Malawian UN peacekeeper, four DRC soldiers and fourteen ADF rebels are among the dead according to the Congolese army, UN mission, and a local rights group.

“They (ADF rebels) attacked our positions at Eringeti (near Beni) and we repelled them all night,” DRC Carmy spokesman in the area, Lieutenant Mak Hazukay said.

Omar Kavota, an official at the Centre for the Promotion of Peace and Human Rights, a local NGO said he saw the gunmen storming and torching a local health centre.

General Jean Baillaud of the UN Mission in DCR, MONUC, told reporters the attack had the hallmarks of ADF, a Ugandan rebel group based in the jungles of the vast Central African nation.

Founded in 1996 by a Muslim militants, ADF has been dormant until this latest raid, although the group was active in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The  DRC army and UN forces have been launching operations against the rebel group.

The group’s leader Jamil Mukulu is currently facing trial in Uganda after his arrest in Tanzania and subsequent extradition to Uganda earlier this year.

Mukulu was arrested and detained by the Tanzanian authorities in April on charges of illegal gun possession. It was later established the suspect in their custody was actually the most wanted ADF head.

ADF, is one of the many rebel militia groups operating in Eastern DRC, the other major group is FDLR which is largely comprised of remnant forces of the former Rwandan army who took part in the 1994 genocide and are fighting the current Rwandan government.

Congolese authorities have in the past accused Uganda and Rwanda of invading DRC under the pretext of flushing out these rebel groups. Human Rights organisations, and the UN have implicated Uganda and Rwandan forces and nationals of plundering resources in the Eastern DRC.

Rwanda and Uganda have also clashed several times in this part of DRC but have since mended ties.