February 14, 2011 / 4:08 PM / 8 years ago

Eleven family members found dead after Congo kidnap

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Eleven members of a family kidnapped by suspected Ugandan Islamic rebels in eastern Congo were found dead two weeks after they disappeared, a local official and a civil society organisation said on Monday.

The bodies were found near an area where Democratic Republic of Congo’s army has been carrying out operations against the rebels, known as the ADF-NALU.

It was not clear how the civilians were killed.

“Their relatives were worried so they informed the civil and military authorities. A search was launched and during this search they came across the decomposed bodies in the forest,” said Remie Lumande, a local government official near Beni in North Kivu province.

A group of civil society organisations in the region said in a statement some of the victims had been tied up and displayed signs of torture while three other people were missing.

“We condemn the targeting of civilians and we deplore the passivity of the (Congolese) regular army in securing the areas that have been taken during Operation Ruwenzori,” the organisations said, referring to an operation launched by Kinshasa to defeat the rebels.

Tens of thousands of civilians fled fighting between the army and the ADF-NALU, just one of many local and foreign armed groups that roams eastern Congo, some eight years after the vast country’s last war was declared over.

Congo’s army is frequently accused of carrying out abuses against civilians during anti-rebel operations.

The ADF-NALU, set up in 1996 and named on the U.S. Terrorist Exclusion List, has settled in Congo over the past few years, numbering about 600.

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