The Democratic Republic of Congo government says it’s military has killed 208 rebels in a month of clashes with Uganda-based Allied Democratic Forces who are said to be roaming the east of the country.
DRC Government spokesman Lambert Mende said on Friday that the country’s armed forces also lost 22 soldiers during the offensive against the ADF.
Mende added that the military had destroyed the group’s headquarters during the onslaught.
His statements reecho those of Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni who revealed last week that he had a phone conversation with his DRC counterpart in which the latter told him that DRC’s army had overrun the headquarters of the ADF.
ADF rebels were blamed for massacring some 21 people in December 2013 in eastern Congo.
Meanwhile, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Congo, known as MONUSCO, said in a statement issued on Thursday that at least 70 men and women had been executed in the resource-rich province of North Kivu.
“The reports received by MONUSCO suggest that the summary executions were allegedly committed mainly by armed groups to spread terror among the population. The majority of the victims were killed with machete,” MONUSCO said.
A spokesperson for the UN peacekeeping force said the killings were carried out in late January and early February in the Nyamaboko villages I and II.
MONUSCO said it was in the process of verifying the reports about the mass executions in the area, vowing to “spare no efforts to neutralize all the armed groups responsible for such acts.”
The UN special envoy to the Congo, Martin Kobler, also expressed “serious concern over the allegations of the gross human rights violations.”
Several armed groups, including the powerful March 23 Movement (M23) rebel group, are active in the east of the DRC and fighting for control of the country’s vast mineral resources, such as gold, the main tin ore cassiterite, and coltan (columbite-tantalite), which is used to make many electronic devices, including cell phones.
In November 2013, the Congolese government claimed “total victory” over the M23 after capturing the group’s remaining hilltop positions north of the eastern city of Goma with the assistance of MONUSCO.
In January 2014, the UN Special Representative in Congo told the UN Security Council that there are “credible reports that the military recruitment of the M23 did not cease” after a peace agreement between the M23 and the Congolese government, which was signed in Kenya in December 2013.
Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on for over a decade and left over 5.5 million people dead.