At least 22 killed in troubled North Kivu province

Regional official blames group led by Ugandan rebels for civilian deaths in North Kivu province near Beni over weekend.

    The North and South Kivu regions have been centres of conflict since 2004 [Reuters]
    The North and South Kivu regions have been centres of conflict since 2004 [Reuters]

    At least 22 civilians were killed in Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province over the weekend, an official said, blaming the attacks on an armed group led by Ugandan rebels.

    The killings happened in Eringeti, a town 55km north of the regional hub Beni, a city plagued by a wave of deadly attacks, according to regional official Amisi Kalonda.

    "Yesterday, they killed 10 civilians. Twelve other bodies were found [on Sunday] in the surrounding villages," he told AFP news agency on Sunday.

    For the past two years, the region around Beni has been afflicted by a series of killings. Nearly 700 civilians have died, most of whom were hacked to death.

    Congolese officials have blamed the attacks on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group of rebels dominated by Ugandan Muslims, but several reports have suggested that other groups - including elements within the Congolese army - took part in some killings.

    A Congolese army spokesman confirmed the attacks saying military forces had "killed four ADF rebels" but added that "the toll on the civilian side is very heavy".

    Political crisis

    The violence came amid a major political crisis in the country, in which opposition leaders are trying to prevent President Joseph Kabila, who has been in office since 2001, from serving a third term.

    Congolese politicians have agreed in principle to a deal under which Kabila will leave office by the end of 2017, opposition leaders said on Friday, an unexpected breakthrough after dozens were killed in anti-government protests this week.

    READ MORE: Beni, DRC - 'They hacked him and threw him in a pigsty'

    In return, the constitution cannot be changed to let Kabila stand for a third term. A prime minister will be named from the main opposition bloc and its leader, Etienne Tshisekedi, will oversee the implementation of the deal.

    A government spokesman declined to comment on the specifics of the deal, which requires final approval by all the delegates at negotiations mediated by DRC's Catholic church.

    INSIDE STORY: Can another civil war be avoided in DR Congo? (25:00)

    SOURCE: News agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Israel’s settlements: 50 years of land theft explained

    Israel’s settlements: 50 years of land theft explained

    On the anniversary of UN Resolution 242, Al Jazeera explores the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise.

    Robert Mugabe: Portrait of a presidency

    Robert Mugabe: Portrait of a presidency

    Some key moments in the life of the man who led his country from independence in 1980 until November 21, 2017.

    When is Thanksgiving Day and why is it celebrated?

    When is Thanksgiving Day and why is it celebrated?

    In the US, Thanksgiving Day will be celebrated on Thursday, November 23.