Islamist militia kills female Malawian peacekeeper in eastern Congo

A female peacekeeper from Malawi was killed in an attack by an Islamist militia in eastern Congo’s North Kivu province on Monday morning, the U.N. and the Malawian government said.

A local civil rights group said separately that fighters with the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamist armed group with Ugandan origins, attacked the village of Kilia, around 18km southeast of Beni in the province, killing at least five people. It was not clear if that figure included the peacekeeper.

“A peacekeeper was killed in an attack by alleged ADF in the Beni region,” said MONUSCO, the U.N. peacekeeping mission, which has deployed around 12,000 troops to contain violence by more than 120 armed groups in the east of the country.

Chitenji Kamanga, 28, was killed when the U.N. base in the village of Kilia, was attacked at 13:30 local time, the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) said in a statement.

“Malawi has lost a courageous, hardworking and disciplined female soldier,” the MDF said.

In March the United States labelled the ADF a foreign terrorist organization because of alleged links to Islamic State group, although the U.N. has consistently downplayed the strength and nature of Islamic State’s influence in Congo.

The last peacekeeper killed in Congo was an Indonesian national on June 22 last year. More than 370 have been killed since the U.N. first sent troops during the civil war in 1999.

The ADF, which has been active in Congo since the 1990s, has carried out a string of reprisal attacks on civilians since the army began operations against it in late 2019, killing around 850 people last year, according to the U.N.

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