27 civilians were killed in two separate attacks in the troubled northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The first incident has been carried out by a notorious regional militia in the Ituri province and the second took place close to Beni.
“We have 20 people killed for now and 17 wounded, some of them admitted to hospital,” Adel Alingi, a Djugu territory administrator.
Another local official said 22 people were killed.
Pilo Mulindro, a tribal chief, told “the victims are of all ages, children, youths, women and old men, killed by machete, by knife or by firearm.”
Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) might be behind the massacre, one of dozens of armed groups spread across the conflict-wracked country.
CODECO is accused of the murder of hundreds of civilians this year alone.
Its members are mainly drawn from the Lendu ethnic group, who are predominantly farmers, and clash repeatedly with the Hema community of traders and herders in Ituri – a region rich in gold and oil.
The fighters burned four houses.
“The situation has created widespread panic in the local population, disrupting road traffic,” said a local representative Bravo Muhindo.
“We are calling the army to help us neutralize the ADF who continue to make us mourn,” he added.