By James Tsamba
KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) - Security forces of Democratic Republic of Congo arrested 40 Ugandan rebels in the northeastern Ituri province, the UN peacekeeping mission in the country said on Thursday.
The rebel fighters from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) were captured on Sunday in Mambasa territory in an operation by Congolese forces (FARDC) and UN peacekeepers, said Col. Claude Raoul Djehoungo, spokesman for the UN mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO).
The arrests came days after seven civilians were killed in latest suspected rebel attack in the area.
“A joint operation against the ADF enabled the FARDC to apprehend 40 ADF fighters near Makeke and take them to the FARDC base in Mangina. The operation was in response to the killings of civilians in Makeke on the same evening of Feb. 9,” local media quoted Djehoungo as saying.
Djehoungo reiterated MONUSCO’s commitment to support Congolese forces against armed groups in order to protect Beni residents.
Since last weekend, suspected ADF combatants launched a series of attacks in several villages and towns in Ituri which left about at least 30 civilians dead in Irumu and Mambasa territories and hundreds displaced, according to local authorities.
DR Congo forces launched operations against armed groups in the eastern part of the country at the end of last October, triggering retaliatory attacks on civilians by the ADF.
The army killed Mouhamed Mukubwa, one of the top leaders of the ADF, at a forest in Beni last November.