An imam was assassinated on Tuesday in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where a military state of siege has been in effect to allow security forces to fight armed groups in the region.
Sheikh Djamali Moussa, a known imam in the territory of Beni, North Kivu province, was killed by an unidentified commando in Mavivi, 15 km (9.3 miles) from the city of Beni, local media reported on Wednesday.
Teddy Kataliko, a civil society leader in Beni, told local Actualite.cd that the incident took place while the victim was returning to his home in the evening.
It is the second murder of an imam in less than one month in Beni. On May 1, Sheikh Ali Amin, the top imam in Beni, was killed while leading prayer in the Mupanda mosque. It was in the middle of Ramadan.
Moussa was the representative of civil society in Mavivi. The imams were best known for their regular alerts on the movement of Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) fighters in the region.
The assassins have not yet been identified. The ADF group is, however, active in eastern DRC.
ADF rebels originating in Uganda’s northeast in the 1990s have been attacking and killing civilians, as well as UN personnel in eastern DRC for years.
It often raids villages kill and kidnap civilians.
To contain armed groups, President Felix Tshisekedi declared a state of siege earlier this month in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, bordering Uganda.
The DRC has been plagued by violence for years as several rebel groups fight each other or against the country’s military and UN forces for territorial control.
According to the UN, exploitation of natural resources continues to be a root cause and driver of conflict, with most armed groups setting aside their political demands and have become involved in mineral trafficking.