Ten people were killed when suspected Ugandan rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) set fire to 16 vehicles in the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) volatile northeastern Ituri province, media reports said on Wednesday.
The attack took place around 11 a.m. local time (0900GMT) along the Komanda-Luna road near Ofaye, Congolese army spokesman in Ituri, Lieut. Jules Ngongo, told reporters, without providing details.
John Vuleveryo, coordinator of the Convention for Respect of Human Rights (CRDH) non-governmental organization, told reporters that the vehicles were headed to Beni in North Kivu province from Ituri, protected by FARDC soldiers and UN peacekeepers. However, half of the convoy was blocked from proceeding, with the rebels then attacking the unsecured area.
"Gunfire lasted several hours. We deplore this new attack, which comes at a time when convoys are regularly accompanied by FARDC soldiers or MONUSCO (UN Organizations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) forces," Vuleveryo told the LaPrunelleRDC newspaper.
Nearly 100 passengers are believed to have been kidnapped by the rebels, according to reports.
The burnt vehicles included 14 cars and two trucks.
Several attacks have previously targeted vehicles along the same stretch of road.
The ADF has been accused of killing more than 1,000 civilians in Ituri since 2019, according to the Kivu Security Tracker, a monitor focused on violence eastern DRC.
President Felix Tshisekedi proclaimed a "state of siege" in May in Ituri and North Kivu, replacing senior civilian officials in the province with army officers in a bid to curb growing insecurity.
The US in March placed the ADF on a list of "terrorist organizations" affiliated with the Daesh/ISIS terror group./agencies