At least 22 people were killed overnight by suspected militiamen in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Reuters reported on Sunday, December 15th, citing local authorities.
Richard Kivanzanga, the deputy administrator of Beni territory, said he had counted 22 bodies on Sunday in the villages of Baoba and Ntombi. "The assailants killed women, men, and children," he said, adding that it was not possible to evacuate all the bodies at the time because they had to wait for an escort from the army.
Since the Congolese army launched operations on October 30th against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan extremist group active in eastern Congo, similar attacks erupted, killing at least 179 people, researchers said.
On Friday, December 13th, Congo President Felix Tshisekedi said the campaign had "dismantled" nearly all of the ADF's sanctuaries. The government has blamed the ADF for similar attacks, including dozens of night-time massacres since 2014 that have killed hundreds of people.
Repeated military operations have failed to totally eradicate the group, and the surge in violence has led to violent protests against the army and UN peacekeepers for failing to protect them.
The violence has also complicated efforts to eliminate an Ebola outbreak in the area. Infections increased in areas health workers have been unable to access because of insecurity.