Rwandan Hutu rebels have attacked a number of villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing 40 or more people in the eastern South Kivu province, according to the Congolese army.

The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (or FDLR, from the French) -- a remnant of the Second Congo War -- raided the villages of Luyuyu, Ngolombe and Kishenya in a vicious attack. In what was reportedly a retaliation against vigilantes who had recently tried to fight back against the militia group, the FDLR have been committing atrocities in the area such as decapitating the village head of Kishenya and hacking a pregnant woman to death and removing her baby.

Congo has sent troops to South Kivu to battle the militants.

The Hutu rebels have ties to the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. Because some FDLR leaders have been connected with genocidal acts, they cannot return to Rwanda and so stay in the eastern part of Congo and continue to attack civilians in defiance of United Nations Peacekeepers in the area.

The Rwandan and Congolese governments signed a pact in 2008 to disband the FDLR through force.