Fourteen civilians and a soldier were killed by militia on Monday night at the Loda camp for displaced persons in Ituri province, northeast DRC, reports say.
According to Jules Tsuba, the head of an association of civil society groups in Djugu territory, the rebels beheaded most of the victims.
The Kivu Security Tracker (KST), a respected monitor of violence in the region, said it suspected militants from an ethnic armed group called Codeco (Cooperative for the Development of Congo) to be behind the attack.
The killings come just a day after a massacre in a gold mine. Local civil society leaders said about 50 people were killed in the gold mine massacre, but the Congolese government announced that the attack left 35 people dead.
According to Lieutenant Jules Ngongo, spokesman for the FARDC (Congolese army) in Ituri, the civilians died during clashes between two rebel groups— Zaire and Codeco.
“Two armed groups are fighting for control of the gold mine called Camp Blanquete. Unfortunately, during their dirty work, some people were caught in the crossfire of these outlaws and several lost their lives and their huts were burned,” said the FARDC statement. “These armed groups use the peaceful population as human shields and operate even at night."
The Codeco armed group claims to defend the Lendu community while the Zaire armed group claims to defend the Hema community. The two communities often clash in Ituri province.
Ituri province has become an area of high tension with rebel groups clashing since 2002. According to the UN, Ituri province has more than 1.7 million internally displaced people.
Ituri and neighbouring North Kivu province have been governed by security forces since May last year in a bid to stem attacks, but massacres have continued.
- Additional reporting by AFP