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16 villagers hacked to death in eastern DR Congo

04 May 2016, 16:54

Kinshasa, May 4, 2016 (AFP) -Attackers armed with machetes and axes hacked at least 16 civilians to death in a nighttime assault on their village in the volatile east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, UN and local officials said Wednesday.

Local administrator Bernard Amisi Kalonda said the brutal attack took place late Tuesday in the Beni region of North Kivu province, an area which has witnessed numerous massacres in the past.

"Between 8 pm and 10 pm (1900 GMT and 2100 GMT), the enemy managed to get past army positions and kill peaceful residents in their homes, slashing their throats," he told AFP.

"The 16 bodies are in front of me, killed by machete or axe."

He was not able to say if the attackers were Ugandan rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), who have long been active in the region.

The area has suffered chronic unrest for two decades, fuelled by local armed groups and others committing ethnic-related violence, or disputes over land and the region's mineral wealth.

"Around 8 pm, we heard people shouting and the sound of bullets," said Adona Lesse, head of Eringeti village, adding that a search was continuing for more possible victims.

General Jean Baillaud, the military chief of the UN mission in the DR Congo known by its French acronym MONUSCO, said there were 17 dead.

ADF rebels have been accused of carrying out numerous bloody attacks on civilians in Beni and the neighbouring Ituri region which the United Nations says have cost the lives of more than 500 people since 2014.


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