At least 22 civilians were killed in a rebel attack on a village in North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to local officials.
The violence in the village of Mwenda in Beni territory was perpetrated by the Ugandan rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Donat Kibwana, the administrator of Beni territory, told Anadolu news agency.
“ADF rebels attacked the village of Mwenda on Monday around 19:00 GMT, killing 22 civilians with machetes,” Kibwana said, adding that the toll was provisional.
Local leaders Ruwenzori Bozy Sindiwako and Iteni Muvunga Kimwele told the dpa news agency on Tuesday by telephone that the rebels had used machetes and bladed weapons to carry out the massacre and systematically loot the colony.
Fulbert Kasairo, a local official, said a dozen other villagers were also kidnapped by the attackers in order to transport stolen goods to other localities.
“Our region is a powder keg, a cemetery. We live in a dying house while the authorities are disinterested, ”Kasairo said.
The army intervened too late to push back the rebels, said Bozy Sindiwako and Muvunga Kimwele.
“These repeated murders … are causing massive displacement of the population of this sector towards [areas], including, in particular, the city of Beni, ”said Bozy Sindiwako.
“Right now the whole village is crying, my constituents are being killed, it makes me sick,” Muvunga Kimwele said.
Lieutenant Antony Mwalushayi of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) confirmed the attack without giving details.
No more bodies recovered
On Monday, authorities said they had discovered 21 bodies “in a state of decomposition” in the localities of Loselose and Loulo in the same region after a passage of the rebels.
The ADF, which originated in northeastern Uganda in the 1990s, have attacked and killed civilians in eastern DRC for decades.
The illicit exploitation of natural resources continues to be a root cause and engine of conflict in the east of the country, according to the UN.
Most of the militias have put aside their political demands and are involved in the mineral trafficking.