The military head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo says he is urgently dispatching a unit of UN soldiers to a remote location in eastern Congo where a massacre killed 21 people.

The UN reported that most of the victims were hacked to death, including a child whose dismembered limbs were found in a tree.

General Carlos Dos Santos Cruz told reporters on Wednesday that he plans to act immediately against the assailants, whom he identified as a Ugandan-led rebel group, ADF-NALU.

He said they carried out the killings on Friday and Saturday in the territory of Beni.

The planned deployment underscores the more robust role the UN is playing in Congo, ever since the creation of a special intervention brigade that allows peacekeepers to go on the offensive.

Martin Kobler, the special representative of the UN  peacekeeping mission in Congo, said the 21 remains were found in the villages of Musuku and Mwenda, in the eastern territory of Beni, an area that has been infested by armed groups for years.

Kobler said they were killed by unknown assailants between December 13 and 14.

He said at least three juvenile girls were raped, before being decapitated. The dismembered body of a child was found in a tree.

Kobler said the "authors of these crimes will not be allowed to rest until they give answers for what they did before the justice system.''

Source: Agencies