Congo electoral panel promises fair presidential poll

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Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission said it was ready to provide fair and credible polls next month despite a spiralling security crisis in the east and concerns about transparency in the run-up to the December 20 general election.

Campaigning is scheduled to begin next week after a tense and delayed registration period that opposition candidates deemed flawed and favours the ruling coalition.

A t least 23 people were killed when militants raided a village in eastern DRC late on Sunday, a local official and a humanitarian worker said.

The attackers tied up villagers and killed them with machetes and other weapons while others fled, said a civil society leader, Maurice Mabele Musaidi, who gave an initial death toll of 19.

Some may have drowned as they tried to cross the Lamia river into Uganda, he added, noting that many were still missing.

A local official said later on Monday that the death toll had risen to at least 33, including an army captain. Two were children who drowned as they tried to reach Uganda.

Twenty-three victims were buried in the village, while six people were taken hostage to help carry looted goods and then executed, he added.

A humanitarian worker confirmed his team had helped bury 23 bodies. He said the army captain’s body had been taken to another location.

A spokesperson for Congo’s army said the attack in Beni territory’s Watalinga chiefdom was carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed group based in eastern Congo that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

The ADF formed in Uganda before moving over the border in the 1990s and has been blamed for thousands of killings in the last decade.

Congo’s army said it killed at least six of the militants that night, without going into detail on the operation.