About 100 people were slaughtered last week in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the latest massacres to shake the restive region, regional deputies told AFP on Monday.
The carnage took place on Thursday near the town of Beni in the North Kivu province, where mainly Muslim Ugandan rebels have been blamed for killing more than 200 civilians in gruesome attacks since October 2014.
“I have a figure of 95 bodies buried in a common grave,” as well as “nine others that were shown to authorities in a morgue,” opposition MP Juma Balikwisha told AFP.
“We still don’t have a definitive toll. It lies between 70 and 100 people killed,” said Albert Baliesima, an MP for the parliamentary majority backing President Joseph Kabila.
More bodies could be dscovered
“We were told that the (Congolese armed forces, FARDC) didn’t want people to go further into the bush, where more bodies could yet be discovered, he added. Officials who spoke to AFP said they did not know who carried out the massacres, but they took place in a region where rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces and National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) battled the army early in November.
An administrative source in Beni said killings took place in four villages located near each other between the market town – 250km north of the provincial capital Goma – and the town of Mbau, 20km further north.
Reached by telephone, a local resident told AFP that 95 bodies picked up in the bush had been buried in the village of Tepiomba.
North Kivu’s governor, Julien Paluku, last Friday said that nine bodies had been taken to a morgue in the affected region. The Civil Society of North Kivu, an association based in Beni, said that at least 50 people had died, according to “one of the survivors”.
The ADF-NALU rebels have been hiding out in the Ruwenzori mountains that straddle the border with Uganda since being driven out of their homeland by President Yoweri Museveni’s soldiers in 1995.
In January, the Congolese army and troops of a special UN intervention brigade launched a joint offensive against the insurgents. The brigade with the large UN mission in the DRC has an offensive mandate to tackle armed insurgent forces. – AFP