More than 12 civilians were killed by members of a notorious rebel group in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo Saturday, the army and Red Cross said.
“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,” army spokesman Anthony Mualushayi told AFP.
Described by the so-called Islamic State as its local affiliate, the rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have been accused of killing thousands of civilians in DRC’s troubled east.
After the attack early Saturday, in the Beni region in North Kivu province, soldiers pursued the attackers and “neutralized seven ADF” and captured another, Mualushayi said.
Local Red Cross head Philippe Bonane put the civilian death toll at 21-24 and was supervising the transfer of bodies to the morgue.
The massacre comes after almost a month of relative calm in Beni, where the Congolese and Ugandan armies have been conducting joint military operations against the ADF since late November.
On Friday another Red Cross representative said that soldiers in the neighboring Ituri province had found 17 decapitated bodies, also believed to be victims of the ADF.
More than 120 armed groups roam eastern DRC and civilian massacres are common.
Both the North Kivu and Ituri have been under a “state of siege” since May last year. The army and police have replaced senior administrators in a bid to stem attacks by armed groups.
Despite this, the authorities have been unable to stop the massacres regularly carried out on civilians