Fourteen people were killed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo overnight by suspected Rwandan rebels accused of repeated attacks in the area, local authorities and the military said Thursday.
The latest assault took place in Miriki, 110 kilometres (65 miles) north of Goma, capital of conflict-torn North Kivu province.
Bokele Joy, administrator of the Lubero area under which Miriki falls, told AFP “14 bodies” had been found.
“The FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) is responsible for this,” Joy said, accusing a Hutu group based in eastern Congo, some of whose members are accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide in neighbouring Rwanda.
Knives and bladed weapons
Confirming the death toll, Congolese military spokesman Mak Hazukay said the rebels slipped past the army’s positions to carry out the attack using knives or other bladed weapons.
Speaking by telephone from Miriki, village chief Gervain Paluku Murandia told AFP his two wives and eldest daughter were among those killed.
A local human rights defender, Souleymane Mokili, corroborated the accounts, saying he had seen the bodies of the victims, which bore “machete and bullet” wounds.
Nine people were being treated in hospital for injuries, he added.
The Congolese army last year launched an offensive to try push the FDLR out of the east, where the rebels have been wreaking havoc since the genocide of mostly ethnic Tutsis across the border in Rwanda.
In October, FDLR members were accused of stabbing three people in Lubero, one of the traditional homelands of central Africa’s Nande tribe.
Local sources have linked the attacks in Lubero to attempts by a local Nande leader to bar the return to the area of displaced Congolese Hutus, whom he accuses of trying to “conquer” Nande land.