At least 22 civilians were killed in a massacre in Democratic Republic of Congo’s restive North Kivu province, officials said Sunday, the latest in a two-year wave of violence plaguing the region.
The bloodshed occurred in Eringeti, a town 55 kilometres north of the regional hub Beni, a city hit by a series of attacks that have claimed more than 700 civilian lives according to regional official Amisi Kalonda, who blamed the latest strike on Ugandan rebels.
Kalonda said members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a group of rebels dominated by puritanical Ugandan Muslims and entrenched in the region for about two decades, stormed the town on Saturday afternoon.
“The ADF has yet again plunged the people of Eringeti and its surrounding areas into mourning,” he told AFP, speaking from the North Kivu capital Goma.
“Yesterday, they killed 10 civilians. Twelve other bodies were found (Sunday) in the surrounding villages.”
“The modus operandi is always the same,” he said, adding that the victims were either killed with knives or machetes.
For the past two years the region around Beni has been afflicted by massacres that have killed hundreds of civilians, most of whom were hacked to death.
Congolese officials have blamed the attacks on the ADF but several expert reports have suggested that other groups, including elements within the Congolese army, took part in some killings.