At least 22 people have been killed by rebel fighters in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), officials have said, the latest in a number of deadly attacks in the region this month.
The attack by members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) happened in the regional capital, Beni on Saturday night, Donat Kibwana, the region’s administrator, told AFP news agency.
“Teams have been mobilised to recover the bodies and bring them back for dignified funerals,” Kibwana said on Sunday.
The victims were farmers including 13 women, Noella Katsongerwaki, Beni’s civil society president, said.
The latest incident came a day after six civilians were killed in an attack in Beni.
Earlier this month, 26 people were killed in separate attacks, one in the village of Mantumbi and two others near the town of Kamango.
According to local human rights organisation CEPADHO, more than 150 people have been killed by rebels since October.
DRC forces launched operations against the armed group in late October. The ADF has retaliated by carrying out massacres.
An estimated 160 rebel groups with more than 20,000 fighters are active in DRC’s east, many of them concerned with wresting control of natural resources.
Among them is the ADF, originally from Uganda, which repeatedly carries out attacks around Beni. It has been accused of killing thousands of people, including United Nations peacekeepers.
The UN has tried to stabilise the country for the past 20 years with a 15,000-strong peacekeeping force.
In recent weeks, the residents of Beni and other cities have demonstrated their dissatisfaction at government and UN protection, saying not enough was being done to prevent the rebels.
The poor security situation has also complicated efforts to combat an Ebola epidemic in the region.