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Militants kill 12 people in attacks in eastern Congo

The army, an eyewitness and a local rights group said today, Wednesday, that attackers killed 12 people in two attacks last night in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and held the gunmen responsible.

The army said fighters launched an attack on the towns of Oisha and Kisima in North Kivu province.

President Felix Tshisekedi has said he wants to end decades of unrest in the mineral-rich east, but the United Nations says killings there have more than doubled over the past year.

In late 2019, the Congolese army launched a campaign to eliminate the Allied Democratic Forces, a Ugandan militia operating in eastern Congo since the 1990s. The group responded with revenge attacks, during which it massacred civilians.

"We have just launched a new operation in the Rwenzori sector in an attempt to expel the enemy, the ADF, from the territory of the Congo. The problem is that our enemy is attacking the helpless," said Army spokesman Anthony Mawalushi.

The army did not confirm the total number of dead in the recent attacks, but a human rights activist in the town of Kisima said that 10 people in the town and two in Oisha were killed in the attacks that used knives and machetes.

"We are farmers and they don't even want us to go to our fields, and this kills us twice," said activist Roger Masimangu. "They also burned several homes and took some residents to the bush."

"They killed my father and my siblings. I survived a miracle," said Kavova Blaz, who witnessed the attack in Kisima.

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