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DR Congo army says 150 hostages freed from Islamist militia

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The army in the Democratic Republic of Congo said Sunday its troops have freed over 150 people taken hostage by the ADF Islamist militia, blamed for thousands of deaths in the country’s east.

“The army was able to release more than 150 civilians: women, elderly people, children and young people,” said Jules Ngongo, spokesman for the army in Ituri province.

He said this was possible after the army’s offensives against ADF from July 18th to 20th in Boga and Tchabi in Irumu territory in the northeast.

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Boga and Tchabi are some 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of Bunia, the capital of Ituri province where rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have taken hold.

“These civilians were being held and used by ADF as human shields. Currently, they are going about their usual business freely,” Ngongo said.

At the end of May, authorities accused ADF rebels of killing at least 50 civilians in Boga and Tchabi, and attacking a refugee camp in Irumu.

A historically Ugandan Islamist group that the United States links with the so-called Islamic State, the ADF is the deadliest of scores of armed militias that roam the mineral-rich eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

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