Just days after 27 people were killed in Congo by suspected Ugandan rebels, 22 people, including at least eight children, were killed in a fresh attack in the conflict-ridden eastern region of the country on Saturday, according to a report by Agence France-Presse, or AFP. Militants belonging to the Islamist group Allied Democratic Forces - National Army for the Liberation of Uganda, or ADF-NALU, are suspected to be behind the attacks.
The latest attack reportedly occurred about 30 miles from the town of Beni, located in the rebel stronghold of North Kivu in the country’s northeast. Ten women, eight children and four men were killed when rebels raided the village of Byalos, according to media reports.
“This is a genocide, the way in which the ADF kills these people,” Omar Kavota, a spokesperson for the Civil Society of North Kivu said, according to a Reuters report.
The attack comes just two days after 27 people, including many children, were killed in the same area during raids by rebel militia.
In a statement released following the attack, Martin Kobler, head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Congo, condemned the attacks and warned the rebel group of “consequences” for the “heinous and unacceptable crimes.” He also said that U.N. troops would remain committed to supporting the Congolese army in its fight against the rebels in the country’s eastern provinces.
The Congolese army, assisted by U.N. troops, has been attempting to battle the rise of ADF-NALU since December 2013, after 21 civilians were reportedly killed by members of the rebel group.
ADF-NALU was formed in 1995 to resist Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and to establish an Islamic state in Uganda. The ADF-NALU, which, according to some estimates, has nearly 1,500 members, is believed to be entrenched in the hills between eastern Congo and Uganda, where they have conducted a series of attacks targeting the army and civilians.