At least 46 civilians were killed by suspected ADF fighters in the Irumu area, according to a regional official.

At least 46 civilians are said to have been killed in an attack by alleged rebel fighters on a village in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, a senior provincial official said on Thursday.

Local security forces have been sent to the village in the Irumu area to investigate, the province’s Interior Minister Adjio Gidi said by phone.

“The death toll this afternoon is said to be 46,” said Gidi.

He said the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) were behind the raid.

According to the United Nations, the Ugandan armed group allegedly carried out a series of massacres in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, in which more than 1,000 civilians have been killed since the beginning of 2019.

After being made aware of the recent violence, the troops went into the village and are in the process of recovering bodies, said local army spokesman Jules Ngongo. He didn’t say how many had been killed.

More than 100 different rebel groups live in the eastern border areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo with Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, many remnants of their brutal civil wars, which officially ended in 2003.

On Sunday, unidentified attackers killed at least six rangers in an ambush in Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, a sanctuary for endangered mountain gorillas.

The armed group ISIL (ISIS) has taken responsibility for many alleged ADF attacks in the past, although UN experts have not been able to confirm a direct link between the two groups.