DR Congo raid by Ugandan Islamist rebel group 'kills 24'

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Eringeti map

At least 24 people have died in a town in the east of the Democratic Republic Congo after a rebel attack, the Congolese army says.

Seven civilians, one UN peacekeeper and four soldiers are among the dead, the army says.

UN General Jean Baillaud said it was suspected that the attack was carried out by a Ugandan Islamist group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

The ADF is based in north-east DR Congo after being pushed out of Uganda.

One local civil society group put the death toll at 38.

Activists who have spoken to witnesses tell a gruesome story of around 40 attackers entering the town of Eringeti on Sunday and killing indiscriminately, including inside the clinic, reports the BBC Maud Jullien in DR Congo.

The seven civilians who died were all killed in the clinic.

The attackers also blocked the town's military base and a position of the UN peacekeeping mission, while others looted shops and the clinic.

They then left in the middle of the night, having raided and burned down a large number of houses.

Thousands flee

Our correspondent has been told that most of the town's population of about 20,000 have fled.

Gen Baillaud says this was the most serious attack in the area in months, but there has been a spate of raids recently as rebels have been stocking up on vital goods.

The ADF was formed in 1996 by a puritanical Muslim sect in the Ruwenzori mountains of western Uganda.

In 1998 it increased its activities and a number of bomb blasts in markets and restaurants in Kampala were blamed on the group.

After years of sporadic raids, the Ugandan army almost destroyed the ADF's capacity over 10 years ago and it moved its base DR Congo, where it has formed alliances with some of the many armed groups based in eastern DR Congo.

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