Five people were killed on Saturday in an ambush by suspected Ugandan Islamist rebels in the Beni region of Democratic Republic of Congo’s chronically troubled east, officials said.
Local official Leon Bahungako said the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) group were behind the attack in which three women and two men were killed and eight people wounded on the road between the towns of Eringeti and Oisha in the North Kivu province.
Government forces last month launched an offensive in Beni against the ADF, one of a number of armed groups that hold territory in the eastern DRC and are battling for control of the region’s rich mineral resources.
“It was the ADF who attacked their vehicle and killed or injured them,” said Bahungako.
An officer told AFP that the army intervened quickly to rescue the other passengers.
The head of the hospital in the town of Eringeti said they had “received five bodies riddled with bullets”.
“We are caring for four wounded people and four more are being transferred to Oicha hospital,” said Michel Kalombo.
Present in DR Congo since 1995, the ADF was created by Muslim radicals to oppose Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s rule.
Congolese authorities and the UN mission in DR Congo, MONUSCO, accuse the ADF of killing more than 700 civilians as well as combatants in the Beni region since 2014.
Earlier in the month the United Nations imposed sanctions on Congolese general Muhindo Akili over the massacre of at least 400 civilians in Beni by the ADF in 2014 and 2015.
The group is also blamed for the killing of 14 UN peacekeepers last month, the biggest single such loss in 25 years.