The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has declared three days of national mourning starting on Monday after a rebel attack left 35 people dead in the country’s northeast, authorities said.
"Three days of mourning will be observed throughout the country from Monday, " Lambert Mende Omalanga, government spokesman, said in a statement on Sunday.
Omalanga specified that this measure's main objective is to express national solidarity with the families of the victims and to "draw the attention of international community on the tragedy that is ongoing in the Beni region.”
At least 35 people were killed in an attack that was attributed to Ugandan rebels, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), in a town in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, local officials told said on Sunday.
Speaking at a press conference in Goma, Congolese President, Joseph Kabila said this was an act of “terrorism.” Kabila added that these acts were “similar to terrorist acts committed in France, Mali and in other parts of the world.”
"Gunmen probably under the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) raided the town of Rwangoma where they attacked civilians killing at least 35 people," lieutenant Mak Hazukay, spokesman of the Congolese army in the Beni region said.
Meanwhile other residents in the region said that the outcome of this bloody attack could be much heavier. They said at least 50 civilians were killed.
For the last 20 years, northern DRC has seen a number of conflicts break out over ethnic and land disputes, control of mineral resources and rivalries between neighboring states.
The ADF, a Ugandan rebel group based in the eastern DRC, is comprised of several groups opposed to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. They have been active in the eastern DRC since 1995 and have been blamed for the killings of hundreds of civilians around Beni.
On Aug. 4, Ugandan president and his Congolese counterpart agreed to establish a military cooperation and exchange information in the fight against the ADF.