At least fifteen people were killed in the eastern DR Congo region of Beni, where hundreds have died in militia violence since November, a local official said Wednesday, giving a provisional toll.
In the past 24 hours, "14 bodies have been found hacked to death," while a pastor was killed in a separate attack, the administrator for the Beni region, Donat Kibwana said. Two people with severe head wounds have been admitted to the hospital in Oicha for surgery, an AFP reporter there said.
According to a toll compiled by civil society groups, 265 people have been killed in the Beni region since the army began a crackdown on an armed group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), on October 30.
The massacres seem to be a tactic by the ADF to frighten the population into silence, say local commentators.
The ADF began as an Islamist rebel group in Uganda that opposed Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. It fell back into the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 1995 during the Congo Wars and appears to have halted raids inside Uganda. Its recruits today are people of various nationalities.