At least eight people, including five women and two children, died on Wednesday in a new attack in DR Congo’s troubled east, local people told AFP on Wednesday.
Armed men attacked the village of Bungushu in North Kivu province overnight, killing eight people, a worker with the local Red Cross said.
At least four of them were hacked to death, and the bodies of four others were later found in pit latrines, he said.
A source with a civil society group, also speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the toll, while local administrative official Isaac Kibira said the toll was “around nine.”
Kibira said the suspects were the M23, a notorious predominantly Tutsi group that is fighting DR Congo’s armed forces and local militias.
That account was supported by the Kivu Security Tracker (KST), a respected monitor of violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
It said on Twitter that the M23 were suspected of attacking civilians while its men were pursuing a fighter with a predominantly Hutu armed group called Nyatura CMC.
In a statement, the M23 condemned “the killings… which occurred on the night of July 4 in Bungushu, Tongo and the surrounding area,” and blamed them on the “Kinshasa government forces.”
After a long period of dormancy, the M23 resumed fighting in late 2021, swiftly capturing swathes of territory near DR Congo’s border with Rwanda.
As its beleaguered army struggled to cope, the government accused Rwanda of abetting the rebels — a charge denied by Kigali but corroborated by United Nations experts.
The M23 has been notably accused of massacring more than 170 people last November at Kishishe, a village about 15 kilometres (nine miles) north of Bungushu.