By James Tasamba
KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) - At least 22 people were killed overnight by rebel fighters in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, police and a civil society group said Sunday.
Suspected rebel fighters from Uganda’s Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) on Saturday evening attacked the village of Ntombi, located around 40 kilometers northeast of the city of Beni in North Kivu province, they said.
“Among the victims were 15 men and seven women, mainly farmers. They were killed with machetes and bullets,” Patrick Musubao, president of the civil society in Beni’s Mayimoya district, told reporters.
The attack came a day after the rebels killed six civilians in the Rwangoma area of Beni, according Musubao.
Earlier this month, 26 people were killed in separate attacks -- one in the village of Mantumbi and two others near the town of Kamango, according to local authorities.
More than 150 people have been killed by rebels since October, according to a local human rights organization known as CEPADHO.
Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo launched operations against armed groups in the eastern part of the country at the end of October, triggering retaliatory attacks on civilians by the ADF.
The country’s army in November killed one of the top leaders of the ADF, Mouhamed Mukubwa, during fighting in Mapobu forest in Beni.
In November, angry protests broke out in Beni and neighboring towns, with residents storming UN facilities in Beni.
The protestors accused UN peacekeeping force MONUSCO and government forces of failing to protect civilians following numerous massacres by rebels.