Rebel groups kill at least 40 in attacks in eastern Congo

BENI, Congo (AP) — Rebels have killed at least 40 people in several attacks in Congo’s eastern Irumu territory, a local civil rights group says.

Members of the Allied Democratic Forces and an Islamic State-linked group known as MTM staged the attacks Tuesday in Samboko, Bandavilemba and Walese-Vukutu in Ituri province, the Centre for the Promotion of Peace, Democracy and Human Rights said in a statement Wednesday.

The rebels, who recently began carrying out attacks together, used machetes and looted food and other valuables, the group said.

CEPADHO said at least 627 civilians have been killed by ADF forces since Oct. 30. Most attacks have occurred in response to large-scale offensives by Congolese armed forces in the region. The rights group said more than 515 of the deaths have occurred in Beni territory.

The group called on the government to reassess its operations, given the fury with which the ADF has been responding.

Many armed groups exist in Congo’s east, fighting over mineral-rich territory.