About 100 people were killed last week in a fresh massacre in the restive east of the Democratic Republic of Congo,
blamed by the government on Uganda rebels, members of parliament have said.
The carnage took place on Thursday near Beni in North Kivu province, where mainly Muslim Ugandan rebels have been blamed for killing more than 200 civilians in gruesome machete attacks since October, and where the UN wants “negative forces” to be neutralised.
“I have a figure of 95 bodies buried in a common grave,” as well as “nine others that were shown to authorities in a morgue,” opposition MP Juma Balikwisha told AFP news agency.
“We still don’t have a definitive toll. It lies between 70 and 100 people killed,” said Albert Baliesima, an MP for the parliamentary majority backing President Joseph Kabila.
North Kivu governor Julien Paluku put the number of dead at 58 while government spokesman Lambert Mende said at a news conference that provisional estimates showed “more than a dozen dead”.
Mende added that “first conclusions” pointed to rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces and National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) being responsible for the latest in a wave of massacres that began early in October.
The government was determined “to eradicate these murderers of women and children”, he said.
UN special envoy to the central African Great Lakes region, Said Djinnit, said in a statement “that the worsening situation in the Beni area… calls for decisive action towards neutralising all negative forces in the DRC, as per the decisions of the regional leaders and the UN Security Council.”
On Friday, the Civil Society of North Kivu, an NGO based in Beni, had called for the army, police and UN forces to step in.
The UN’s humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, said 35,000 people have been displaced in the region in the last few weeks.