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At least 36 killed in eastern Congo by suspected rebels.

Suspected rebels
killed at least 36 civilians in northeastern Democratic Republic of
Congo, the provincial governor said on Sunday, marking the deadliest
massacre in the conflict-ravaged region this year.

assailants hacked to death 22 men and 14 women late on Saturday in
their homes and fields on the outskirts of the local commercial hub of
Beni, Julien Paluku said in a statement.

population of Beni “has once again been hit by terrorist acts of
diverse origins whose objective is to sabotage the efforts at peace
undertaken over the last two years,” he said.

activists say more than 500 civilians have been killed near Beni since
October 2014, most in overnight raids by rebels carried out with
machetes and hatchets.

Local army
spokesman Mak Hazukay told Reuters that the attack was staged in the
early evening by rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a
Ugandan Islamist militia that has operated in eastern Congo since the

The ADF, a secretive organization of only a few hundred fighters, did not comment.

said the raid was in reprisal for army operations against the ADF,
which the government says is responsible for nearly all the attacks near
Beni over the last year.

a United Nations panel of experts and independent analysts says that
other armed groups, including some Congolese soldiers, have been
involved in attacks on civilians.

It appeared to be the deadliest attack in the area since an assault blamed on the ADF in November 2014 killed some 80 people.
“The goal of the attack is to incite the population to rise up against us,” Hazukay said.

Kavota, the executive director at the Centre of Study for the Promotion
of Peace, Democracy and Human Rights that documents violence in North
Kivu, said he had received reports of as many as 50 dead.

Eastern Congo is plagued by dozens of armed
groups that prey on locals and exploit mineral reserves. Millions died
there between 1996 and 2003 as a regional conflict caused hunger and

Analysts say
insufficient intelligence, coordination and resources have rendered the
Congolese army and the country’s U.N. peacekeeping force ineffective
against the small ADF force, raising tensions in the region.

Sunday, dozens took to the streets in Beni, erecting barricades in
protest against the army’s inability to deal with the attacks, witnesses

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