At least 27 people were killed and another seven people seriously injured in overnight raids on villages near the eastern Congolese town of Beni, local officials said on Thursday.
Julien Paluku, governor of North Kivu province, blamed the attack on Ugandan ADF-NALU rebels that operate alongside a string of other local and foreign armed groups in Democratic Republic of Congo’s mineral-rich eastern border zone.
A Congolese military source, who asked not to be named, said houses were burned and some of the victims were decapitated.
The mayor of Beni declared a day of mourning.
Martin Kobler, head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo, expressed concern at a spike in violence in the region and said U.N. troops would remain committed to supporting government troops defeating all rebel groups in the east, including ADF-NALU.
The Congolese army, backed by U.N. forces, launched an offensive last December against ADF-NALU following attacks by the group that killed 21 civilians. The strikes have severely crippled the group’s operational capacity, Kobler said earlier this year.