Suspected Islamist militants killed 16 people this week in two rural towns in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a local official, a civil society leader and a resident said on Friday.
They said the attackers belonged to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militia linked to Islamic State that is accused of killing hundreds of civilians in eastern Congo since 2019 and carrying out a string of recent bombings in Uganda.
The attack took place on Wednesday night in the rural commune of Mangina and nearby Masiriko in Congo's North Kivu province, the sources said. An unknown number of people were also kidnapped, said Freddy Mbayayi, deputy mayor of Mangina.
"It was horrible to see mothers, children and elderly people fleeing the cruelty of the ADF," said Pelka Josaphat, a resident of Mangina.
"The victims were killed by machetes and within my family four people are not responding to calls because they were carried away by the enemy," he told Reuters. Congo and Uganda last month launched joint military operations against the ADF, with Uganda mounting air and artillery strikes against their bases and sending thousands of troops across the border.
Uganda has vowed to stay as long as necessary to defeat the militia, but the intervention has alarmed some Congolese, who recall Uganda's plundering of their resources during the 1998-2003 conflict.