14 people killed in DRC machete attack

Kinshasa - Fourteen people were killed in a machete attack by Ugandan rebels in the Beni region in the restive eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where nearly 100 civilians have already perished, a non-governmental group said on Thursday.

The incursion by the Ugandan rebel group ADF took place overnight in the town of Kampi ya Chui and "it's a heavy toll: 14 people massacred by machetes", said Teddy Kataliko, head of the Beni region civil society.

The authorities did not confirm the toll, saying just that they were aware of the attack and that it left "several dead".

"I know that there have been several deaths and one of the (ADF) rebels has been captured", said interior minister Richard Muyej, who was visiting the city of Beni.

The governor of North Kivu province, Julien Paluku, also cautioned that there was a need for confirmation on the deaths as there was "a lot of contradictory information" coming from the attack area.

About two weeks ago, suspected ADF Ugandan rebels were accused of having massacred about 80 civilians in the region, including women and children, some of them decapitated, despite the presence of the Congolese army and peacekeepers from the UN mission to DRC known as Monusco.

Amid the escalating violence Congolese President Joseph Kabila travelled to Beni and met on Thursday with different groups.

"The civil society is calling for an urgent solution by re-launching the military operations", said Kataliko.

Earlier in the year, the army and Monusco forces had been successful in weakening the Ugandan rebel group.

The Ugandan rebels of the allied democratic forces and National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) have committed strings of atrocities since they were chased into neighbouring DRC by Uganda's army in the 1990s.

The rebels, who have been accused of serious human rights violations including using child soldiers, have financed themselves by trafficking gold and wood. Beni is a major hub for wood destined for Uganda.

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