At least nineteen people have died in a new rebel attack near Beni in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The attack comes a day after angry citizens protested against the United Nations peacekeeping and security forces for failing to protect them from the rebels.
Local news reported that the fighters who belonged to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group went into a village near Oicha, barely thirty kilometers from Beni town.
Speaking to the administrator of the Beni territory Donat Kibwana, he said that many of the villagers refused to return to the village after the attack because of fear.
However, Kibwana said the initial search found nineteen people dead.
“This assessment remains provisional as the search continues,” Kibwana said.
“We have reinforced the military presence in the territory of Beni, but also the army has pursued the rebels. We call on the population to remain calm, ” he added.
Officials also said that the bodies were “badly mutilated” and some “decapitated”.
On Tuesday, ADF rebels killed eight people in Beni prompting citizens to attack UN facilities in the region.
In the hit of the attacks, a UN peacekeeping fighter killed a protester.
“We established that an incident did happen, that there was indeed a shoot-out and one of our peacekeepers shot the protester throwing a Molotov cocktail,” Francois Grignon, deputy special representative at MONUSCO.
“We are still in the process of verifying all the facts and fact-checking the reports that we have received but this is indeed the circumstances that we understand took place yesterday,” said Grignon.
“Very, very strict orders have been given to the peacekeepers, to all our troops, not to use lethal weapons against protesters they are facing – and they were facing yesterday a very difficult situation, ” he added.