, GOMA, Feb 4- At least 17 people have been hacked to death in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been plagued by a spate of massacres blamed on Ugandan rebels, police said Wednesday.
The attack took place overnight in the city of Beni in the restive North Kivu province.
“We have found 17 bodies. The search is continuing,” a police officer told AFP. “The victims were killed with machetes.”
The attack was the first reported in the region of Beni since the UN mission MONUSCO and the army announced in mid-December that they relaunched an offensive against the Ugandan rebels blamed for the attacks.
Beni was hit by a string of massacres from October to December that left more than 260 people dead, most of whom were slaughtered with machetes and farm tools.
Congolese authorities, military experts and the United Nations blame the spate of killing on militants fighting for the Allied Democratic Forces and National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU).
The rebels, who are said to number 400, have terrorised villagers in the region border between DR Congo and Uganda since being driven out of their homeland in 1995.
While the army and UN offensive helped restore calm in North Kivu, MONUSCO has reported that the ADF massacred 30 people in the neighbouring Orientale province at the end of December.