Between 50 and 80 people have been killed in attacks by suspected Ugandan ADF-NALU rebels near the eastern Congolese town of Beni, the local civil society coalition said on Friday.
In a statement, Civil Society of North Kivu, the province where Beni is situated, said the killings occurred on Thursday evening around 10 km (6 miles) east of Beni airport, where U.N. peacekeepers are based. The U.N. mission, known as MONUSCO, was not available for comment.
Government and civil society groups have blamed a string of recent attacks in eastern Congo on ADF, a secretive organisation formed in the 1990s to fight the Ugandan government, but some analysts have questioned this assessment.
North Kivu Governor Julien Paluku told Reuters nine bodies had arrived at the morgue in the nearby town of Oicha but said the toll could rise. Paluku also blamed the Ugandan rebels.
“They were savagely killed by the ADF…It was far from the main road. About 12 kilometres from Mavivi, I believe, in the bush,” he said.
In Beni, U.N. peacekeeping mission spokesman Major Raphael Shonza said MONUSCO could not confirm details of the attacks would send troops on Saturday to the site of the violence.