At least 22 people killed by Islamist rebels in DR Congo

GOMA, CONGO - APRIL 26: A Congolese soldier (FARDC) poses April 26, 2010 on the outskirts of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Government soldiers, who usually get paid around $35-40 per month, are struggling to survive and support their family. Some of them are accused of extortion, rape, and other crimes. (Photo by Kuni Takahashi/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: A Congolese soldier on patrol in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Photo by Kuni Takahashi/Getty Images)

At least 22 people were killed on Saturday in Beni in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to local officials.

Among the victims were farmers and 13 women, AFP reported quoting a regional civil society president, Noella Katsongerwaki.

Beni region administrator Donat Kibwana, who spoke to AFP, accused the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel group of Ugandan origin active in the eastern part of the DR Congo since the mid-1990s, of perpetrating the attack.

Kibwana said that teams were mobilized to recover the bodies and return them for dignified funerals.

Several armed groups operate in the eastern region, however, recent attacks have been blamed on the ADF.

The Congo Research Group (CRG) estimates that the ADF has killed more than 1,000 civilians since October 2014.

In late November, the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) reported that 19 people were killed by the ADF in Maliki, North West of the village of Oicha.

The most recent killings have sparked off protests against the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission and Congolese authorities over their perceived failure to protect civilians.

The violence has not only posed a challenge in the fight against Ebola in the DR Congo, but has also created a humanitarian crisis as aid workers are unable to access some affected parts.