Congolese soldiers and UN troops are investigating a trap where an hour earlier ADF fundamentalist rebels attacked two vehicles on 9 April 2021 on the road between Beni and the border town of Kasindi in Kilya, Rwenzori sector, Democratic Republic of Congo. (Brent Stirton / Getty Images)
BENI, CONGO – An Islamic leader in the eastern city of Beni in the Congo was killed during evening prayers by unidentified gunmen after days of violent attacks by rebels killed at least 19 people, officials said.
Armed men entered Beni’s central mosque on Saturday and shot dead Sheikh Ali Amin Uthman, a representative of Beni’s Islamic community, according to mosque chief Sheikh Moustapha Matsongani.
The identity of the attackers was not yet known. Matsongani told The Associated Press that Amin had been receiving threats from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) for more than a year and that he had been questioned by the security services about the threats in earlier days.
“We have asked him to leave Beni if possible to escape the death threats,” North Kivu Province Governor Nzanzu Carly Kasivita said. “Investigation is underway.”
Amin regularly went on the radio to expose extremism.
According to civil society groups, his attack in the villages left him dead for 19 days.
The ADF has its origins in neighboring Uganda and has long been a threat in eastern Congo. The ISIS terrorist group claimed that some of the attacks were carried out by ADF rebels, but the exact relationship between the groups is not clear.
Last year, a Congolese military campaign was launched against the rebels and fighters have since spread and fled to eastern Congo, where dozens of armed groups are fighting to take control of the mineral-rich country.
Rebels responded to the military offensive with increasing attacks, killing more than 800 people last year.
By Al-Hadji Kudra Maliro