The Kivu Security Barometer, has said that 19 civilians were at the end of August in Beni, North Kivu, and at least 80 murdered since July. The non-governmental organisation just confirmed what the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) said in a newsletter released on August 23, of a “continuing deterioration” of the situation in Beni.
The insecurity has spread across the border into Uganda where machete-wielding men are alleged to have killed close to 30 people in less than two weeks in the central districts.
President Yoweri Museveni has blamed the killings on the Allied Democratic Force (ADF) rebels, who have operated in the restive eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since 1996.
Last week, Museveni said that he was in talks with his DR Congo counterpart President Felix Tshisekedi over the possibility of deploying the UPDF to eastern DRC to flush out insurgents.
“The plans and orders for killing our people are coming from the terrorists in eastern Congo. We are continuing to discuss with President Tshisekedi about eliminating that cancer,” Museveni said.
A source at the DR Congo embassy in Kampala however told The EastAfrican that while the issue has come up in recent meetings between the two presidents, nothing has been agreed on.
Ugandan Foreign Affairs junior minister Henry Okello Oryem told The EastAfrican on Wednesday that while he was not privy to the talks, but was aware that the two countries were sharing intelligence on the ADF.
Congolese authorities suspect some parliamentarians of secretly financing and maintaining the militias in order to continue illegal mining. Recently, Christophe Mboso, Speaker of the National Assembly shocked many when he asked parliamentarians from Kivu to “leave the rebel groups”.
In March, the US blacklisted the ADF and its leader Seka Musa Baluku, of having links with the Islamic State.
In his speech last week, President Museveni hit out at the UN-mandated Monusco, branding it a failure. He said he was looking to engage the five permanent representatives of the UN Security Council on the fact that Monusco’s presence in DRC was no deterrent to rebel activities.
“It is not correct for Monusco to co-exist with the terrorists in Eastern Congo that continue to massacre Congolese and us the neighbours. The terrorists that, eventually, attacked our brothers in Mozambique, were, for long period, preparing themselves in Eastern Congo.”
But Monusco spokesperson, Mathias Gillmann told The EastAfrican that; “We cannot downplay the difficulties and the challenges that remain in the Eastern provinces of the DRC, and the work that remains to be done in support of the national security forces against local and international armed groups and militias.”
Additional reporting by Pat Illunga