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ICC Note: Islamist militias in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have murdered at least 50 people in a string of attacks on majority-Christian communities, forcing church attendance dramatically down and resulting in burned church buildings. The group responsible is known as Muslim Defense International, which carries links back to the late 1970s Idi Amin dictatorship in Uganda, according to reports. Descriptions from the ground reveal unmatched brutality, including mass murder and arson that has reportedly killed more than 1,100 people since 2014. While MDI’s motives remain somewhat unclear, what’s known is that an Islamist group continues to attack majority-Christian villages, so much so, that local NGOs have sent an appeal letter to the DRC President asking for help.

5/20/16 North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (World Watch Monitor) – Local civil society organisations have written to Congolese President Joseph Kabila to denounce the ongoing killings of people in eastern DR Congo, particularly in Beni and Lubero (North Kivu Province).

They say the violence has so far claimed 1,116 lives between October 2014 and May 2016. That’s an average of 60 killed per month, or two a day, points out their letter (which WWM has seen). It says some 1,470 other people were abducted, while 34,297 families have been forcibly displaced or are dispersed. There are also numerous cases of sexual violence against women and children.

WWM reported that around 50 people were killed in various attacks within a week in May, causing thousands to flee the area.

In particular, locals say Islamist militants (ADF-NALU, also known as Muslim Defence International) were responsible. The material damage is 1,750 and 13 health centres burned down; 27 schools destroyed or forcibly abandoned, occupied by displaced people or by military or armed groups; several villages occupied by armed militiamen.

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