According to the country’s army and civil society groups, several civilians have been killed by rebel fighters in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The DRC army spokesman told reporters that “more than a dozen” people were killed in Saturday’s attack, while the Red Cross put the death toll at 24.
At least 27 civilians have been killed, according to the Kivu Security Tracker (KST), which monitors violence in the region through a team of experts on the ground.
The killings took place in a village in the Beni region in North Kivu province, army spokesperson Anthony Mualushayi told newsmen.
“We heard bullets at dawn in the village of Beu Manyama. When we arrived, it was already too late because the enemy ADF had already killed more than a dozen of our fellow citizens with machetes,” he said.
Thousands of civilians have been killed in DRC’s troubled east by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
Following the attack, soldiers pursued the attackers and “neutralised seven ADF” while apprehending another, according to Mualushayi.
Philippe Bonane, the head of the local Red Cross, put the civilian death toll at 24.
The massacre follows nearly a month of relative calm in Beni, where Congolese and Ugandan armies have been conducting joint military operations against the ADF since late November.
Another Red Cross representative said on Friday that soldiers in the neighboring Ituri province had discovered 17 decapitated bodies, all of which were believed to be ADF victims.
More than 120 armed groups roam the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and civilian massacres are common.
Both North Kivu and Ituri have been under “siege” since May of last year. In an effort to halt armed group attacks, the army and police have replaced senior administrators.
Despite this, the authorities have been unable to put a stop to the regular massacres of civilians.
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