Around 30 civilians were reportedly killed on Saturday in an ambush by militants in Goma, northeastern DRC . The number of deaths remains unknown for the time being.

According to several lawmakers and politicians, the attack occurred near the town of Beni. An attack that – if the deaths were confirmed – would be the first massacre in the region since the beginning of this year, after those killed between 2014 and 2016, which killed more than 800 people.

According to the testimony of Boris Maelezo, a local MP for Reuters, assailants armed with machetes and guns ambushed passengers on the main road linking Beni in the province of North Kivu to the province of ” Ituri. Travelers, whose exact number remains unknown until now, mostly motorcycles, have almost all been killed.

Two hostages – women – released said more than a dozen people were killed by the kidnappers, reports legislator Albert Baliesima Kadukima. The latter would be members of the Allied Democratic Forces ( ADF ), an active Ugandan Islamist group near the Congo-Uganda border.

Ethnic Tensions

Mak Hazukay spokesman for the local army, said that Congolese forces – to the rescue of the victims – fought militants for several kilometers.

Eastern Congo has been for more than two decades, the theater of ethnic tensions, raised by the conflicts that have lasted more than two decades. The region is also the largest producer of coltan in the world, used in mobile phones and other electronic products.

Various armed groups have committed atrocities around Beni since the end of 2014 in sometimes sectarian attacks.