At least 27 civilians killed by rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo | Democratic Republic of Congo

At least 27 civilians have been killed by members of a notorious rebel group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the army and the Red Cross said.

The Kivu Security Tracker (KST), which monitors violence in the region via a team of experts on the ground, posted on Twitter that at least 27 civilians were killed in Saturday’s attack by rebel Forces Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

“We heard bullets at dawn in the village of Beu Manyama,” army spokesman Anthony Mualushayi told Agence France-Presse on Saturday. “When we arrived, it was already too late because the enemy ADF had already killed more than a dozen of our fellow citizens with machetes.”

Described by the Islamic State as its local affiliate, the ADF have been accused of killing thousands of civilians in the troubled eastern DRC.

After Saturday morning’s attack, in the Beni area of ​​North Kivu province, soldiers pursued the attackers and “neutralized seven ADFs” and captured another, Mualushayi said.

Earlier in the day on Saturday, the head of the local Red Cross, Philippe Bonane, had reported 24 civilian deaths and was overseeing the transfer of bodies to the morgue.

The massacre comes after nearly a month of relative calm in Beni, where the Congolese and Ugandan armies have been carrying out joint military operations against the ADF since late November.

On Friday, another Red Cross representative said soldiers from neighboring Ituri province found 17 decapitated bodies, also believed to be ADF victims.

More than 120 armed groups roam the eastern DRC and massacres of civilians are commonplace.

Ituri and North Kivu have been under an official “state of siege” since May last year, and the army and police replaced senior officials in a bid to stem attacks by armed groups.

Despite this, the authorities have been unable to stop the massacres that are regularly perpetrated against civilians.

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