Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 23 civilians in an overnight raid on a village near Beni in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the provincial governor’s office said on Wednesday.
The death toll was still provisional as the search for bodies continued in Manyama-Moliso, north of the city of Beni, the North Kivu governor’s office said on Twitter.
It blamed the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan militia active in eastern Congo since the 1990s. The authorities have blamed the ADF for the deaths of hundreds of people since 2014.
The group has stepped up reprisals against civilians since Congo’s army launched a fresh offensive in late 2019.
The United States designated the ADF a foreign terrorist organization earlier this month, accusing it of links to Islamic State. U.N. experts in Congo, however, have not found evidence of a direct relationship between the two groups.
Two of the assailants were also killed when the army responded, the governor’s office added.