KINSHASA, Congo — A rebel attack in the northeastern Congo town of Beni has killed at least 11 people, including one soldier and two attackers, a local civil society leader said Monday, as assaults by armed groups in the region continue.
Homes and a school in the Boikene locality were burned and residents fled during Sunday’s daytime assault, said Teddy Kataliko, the president of a Beni civil society group. He said the rebel group Allied Democratic Forces, often blamed for violence in the region, likely carried out the assault.
The ADF rebels, with origins in Uganda, are among scores of armed groups present in mineral-rich eastern Congo.
Human Rights Watch said in a report last week that various groups have killed more than 680 civilians in at least 120 attacks in Beni territory since October 2014.
“The Congolese government and U.N. peacekeepers need a new strategy to protect civilians in Beni and to hold those responsible for attacks to account,” said Ida Sawyer, the group’s senior Africa researcher.
In one of the largest recent attacks, fighters killed at least 40 people and set fire to homes in Beni’s Rwangoma neighborhood, despite the presence of Congolese soldiers and U.N. peacekeepers, the rights group said.
ADF rebels have been blamed for most of the attacks, but Human Rights Watch said other groups and army officers might also be responsible.
Lt. Mak Hazukay, an army spokesman, said rebels staging attacks around the city means the military is pushing fighters out of the forest.
AP writer Carley Petesch in Dakar, Senegal contributed to this report.