At least 23 people were killed in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in what officials described as an attack by rebel fighters.
Police and local officials said on Monday that the overnight raid on Apetina-Sana in the restive eastern region of Beni was carried out by ADF rebels, who operate in both DRC and neighbouring Uganda.
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Beni administrator Donat Kibwana told AFP news agency that the ADF hacked civilians to death in the settlement, which lies 16 kilometres (10 miles) west of Oicha, the chief administrative town in Beni. The rebels also reportedly torched the victims’ homes. Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Nairobi, Kenya, said the death toll was expected to rise as the attack had lasted hours and many people were yet to be accounted for.
“They say when the rebels entered the village, they went from house to house burning everything in their path. Anyone they came across, including women and children, they killed.” Mutasa said some people were now making the hours-long walk to Beni city to stay in churches or with family members.
“You get a sense that people are terrified,” she said, adding that many in the area have long felt abandoned by the government. “They feel that all the resources go to the capital … The roads are in a bad state, there’s no infrastructure, they feel let down. So a lot of people say that when these attacks happen – and they do happen often – they feel alone. “While the ADF originated in Uganda, its rebels have been attacking and killing people in eastern DRC for more than 20 years.