At least eight people were beheaded in a machete attack in an eastern area of the Democratic Republic of Congo that has seen frequent massacres perpetrated by Islamist Ugandan rebels, an official said.
“Five civilians were killed by machete in the Mbau area,” said Amisi Kalonda, the area administrator of the town of Beni.
Mbau lies around 30 kilometres (20 miles) from Beni, a large town in Nord-Kivu province.
The victims were killed “as they were going to work in the fields this morning”, Kalonda told AFP.
The army were alerted by a resident of the village who managed to escape, Kalonda said.
“The army came back with three injured men and five decapitated bodies,” he said.
Teddy Kataliko, who heads a local NGO which observes the violence, said he believed the final death toll could be as high as ten.
He said the army had found other bodies during searches of the area.
He blamed the attack on Ugandan Islamist rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militia that is believed to have killed more than 260 people in the final three months of last year, mostly with knives and machetes.
The killings prompted a joint offensive between Congolese soldiers and troops from the UN mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) to put down the ADF and its allies, which have operated in the region since 1995.
But the attacks have continued, with another 40 killed in and around Beni since January.