By Fiston Mahamba
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) – Suspected Islamist fighters killed 14 people in eastern Congo on Friday, local authorities said, as a month-long spike in violence complicates efforts to contain a deadly Ebola outbreak.
The attack in the village of Kukutama, 10 km (6 miles) southwest of Oicha in North Kivu, comes on top of a death toll of more than 100 since Oct. 30 when the army started an operation to root out the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a jihadist group operating in the dense forests bordering Uganda.
Friday’s attack was just a few miles from another attack days earlier in which at least 19 people were killed.
“While the army is doing its best to neutralize the ADF rebellion, the rebels are preying on defenceless civilians by way of revenge,” said Donat Kibwana, administrator of the territory of Beni.
Many of the victims have been hacked to death or beheaded, according to local rights and civil society groups.
Violence in the region is hampering efforts to halt the spread of the Ebola virus, which has killed 2,200 people since August 2018.
International organisations warned on Friday of a potential resurgence of the virus after deadly militia attacks on health centres forced aid groups to suspend operations and withdraw staff from the epidemic’s last strongholds.
(Writing by Hereward Holland; Editing by Edward McAllister and David Clarke)