GOMA, DR Congo (AFP) – At least eight people were killed overnight in new violence in the restive east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, an umbrella group of non-governmental organisations said Sunday.
The slayings in the city of Beni added to more than 110 deaths counted in the region since last month.
Ugandan Muslim rebels using machetes and clubs were blamed for the bloodshed.
DR Congo officials were not immediately contactable to confirm the report of the latest killings, which were said to have occurred just hours after the country’s president, Joseph Kabila, visited Beni.
Teddy Kataliko, head of the local umbrella NGO grouping for Beni, told AFP that “the carnage” happened in the city’s eastern Bel-Air district.
“Eight people were killed: two soldiers and six civilians,” he said.
He added that witnesses believed the attackers were from the Ugandan rebel group the Allied Democratic Forces, which is being fought by the Congolese army with support from UN peacekeepers.
The Ugandan rebels were chased into the DR Congo by the Ugandan army in the 1990s and have been hiding in the Ruwenzori mountains along the border since.
Although weakened by the offensive against them started in January, they continue to carry out massacres, forced recruitment and pillaging, and make money by trading goods, including wood.
President Joseph Kabila, speaking in Beni on Friday, vowed to reorganise the leadership of the military campaign against the rebels and requested that the UN mission in the country be reinforced.