At least 55 people have been massacred by armed militants in two villages in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations (UN) has announced.
Armed men invaded the village of Tchabi and a camp set up for displaced civilians near Boga Village overnight on Monday. Both villages are located close to the Ugandan border.
Houses were burned and civilians were abducted in what the UN described as the worst night of violence in the area over the past four years.
The Congolese military blamed the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militant group for the raids. But no group immediately claimed responsibility.
The death toll was expected to rise as missing civilians were being found dead in neighboring villages and nearby forests. Among the dead were women and children.
On May 1, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi proclaimed a “state of siege” in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces for one month in an attempt to curb violence by militant groups.
The ADF is a mainly Ugandan militant group carrying out deadly attacks in the mineral-rich east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to the UN, more than 850 people have been killed by the ADF since the army began operations against the group in 2020.
Uganda has agreed to only share intelligence and coordinate operations against the militants but has announced no plans to enter full-scale combat with the militants.