KINSHASA (Reuters) – Suspected Ugandan rebels killed at least 22 people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo late on Wednesday, local officials said, the third deadly attack on civilians in the region in the last week.

The attack took place near the town of Beni, an area in North Kivu province where more than 300 civilians have been killed in overnight raids since October.

The attacks, often carried out with machetes and hatchets, have mostly been blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan Islamist rebel group that operates on the Congolese side of the border.

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North Kivu governor Julien Paluku said on Thursday that ADF fighters had attacked a location outside Beni, a regional hub, late on Wednesday afternoon, killing at least 22.

He said the massacre followed clashes between the Congolese army and ADF fighters, but that he did not yet know the name of the village where it had taken place.

Teddy Kataliko, a local civil society leader, said the attack had taken place in Mbutaba, 23 km north of Beni, and that his organisation had documented 28 deaths so far, although the toll was likely to rise.

The United Nations has said the ADF killed at least 237 civilians last year in what could amount to crimes against humanity.

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