Suspected Islamist rebels killed at least 19 people in east Congo, an official said, the latest attack causing anger at perceived inaction by the army and UN troops.
The raid occurred overnight in Maleki, near Oicha in a forested region near Ugandan, said Donat Kibwana, administrator of Beni territory.
Kibwana blamed the attack on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a jihadist rebel group originally from Uganda operating in Congo for decades. They killed at least 80 people in 14 raids since the army launched an operation against them last month, according to UN figures.
He said many family members of victims were afraid to return fearing being attacked. An initial search found 19 dead.
“This assessment remains provisional as the search continues,” Kibwana told Reuters.
ADF personnel were not reachable for comment.
Recent attacks sparked protests in Beni, south of Oicha, driven by accusations the army and United Nations are not doing enough to protect people.
Protesters burned down the mayor’s office and damaged UN facilities on Monday, forcing Ebola epidemic health workers into lockdown and others to leave.
At least four people died during protests in Beni and nearby Butembo. On Wednesday protests spread to Goma where activists called for a two-day strike.
One protester was allegedly killed during an exchange with UN peacekeepers in Beni on Monday, the United Nations said, adding it would investigate.
The UN peacekeeping mission said in a statement it would be unable to end the ADF violence if own forces were under attack by local people.