Islamic State claims responsibility for massive DRC prison break
Cape Town - The Islamic State has claimed that it was behind the recent massive prison break in which more than 1,300 prisoners were freed from a jail in Beni in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a co-ordinated attack.
In its official media statement, the Islamic State directly linked the operation to a recent speech made by its spokesperson, Abu Hamza al-Quraishi.
According to an American news website which reports on the war on terror, FDD's Long War Journal, the Islamic State begins its statement by summarising Tuesday’s events, which it said were carried out by its local branch, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group active in DRC since the 1990s.
The armed group freed the prisoners from a jail in Beni in a co-ordinated attack that took place in the early hours of Tuesday.
Mayor Modeste Bakwanamaha said only about 100 remained following the simultaneous assault on the Kangbayi central prison and on the military camp that provides security to it, news broadcaster Al Jazeera reported.
The statement, however, correctly noted that the armed group targeted two military bases near the prison, not just one base as widely reported in the media.
It added that the raids were carried out as part of the newly announced “Answer the Call” campaign.
This name is in reference to a recent speech made by al-Quraishi on October 18 in which where he praised the Islamic State Khorasan Province’s August 2 prison break in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
The Islamic State Khorasan Province also claimed responsibility for a prison raid in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.
The attack began when a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) at the gates of the prison. A team of jihadists then stormed the facility, leading to a prolonged siege that lasted approximately 18 to 20 hours.
In referring to that assault, al-Quraishi further called on members and supporters to conduct similar operations around the world.
FDD's Long War Journal said it is not just the Islamic State tying Tuesday’s prison break in the DRC to al-Quraishi’s call to action.
In other news, according to the UN, more than 1,300 people were killed in the first six months of this year by armed groups in DRC, three times more than in the same period in 2019.
The latest DRC massacre has claimed thousands of lives, with many others internally displaced and many seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.
Violence in the gold-mining region of Ituri has raged since December 2017. The flare-up has pitched the Hema ethnic group, who are predominantly herders, against the Lendu community, who are mostly sedentary farmers. The UN warned that some of the latest attacks could amount to crimes against humanity.
African News Agency (ANA)