F9CB2C01-7CB8-4C8A-B175-3B2901295C32_cx0_cy4_cw0_mw1024_s_n_r1At least 17 people were killed following several incursions of militiamen in the night of 7-8 August 2016 in a number of localities of Bwito in North Kivu.

The attacks reportedly targeted government forces’ positions and villages.

The Congolese army spokesman in North Kivu province, Captain William Ndjike, blamed the attacks on Mai-Mai tribal militias, local self-defense militias often formed along ethnic lines, as well as Rwandan Hutu rebels from the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda.

A military personnel was killed in the overnight gun and machete attack.

The largest number of deaths was recorded in the locality of Kibirizi, 85 km northwest of Goma, where seven civilians were shot dead or hacked to death with machetes.

According to the army spokesman, more than 150 houses were burnt, forcing survivors to flee to nearby locations.

The bloodshed was blamed on the FDLR, which has been present in eastern DRC since the end of the Rwandan genocide 26 years ago.

The incident came just hours after the departure of President Joseph Kabila, who had been staying in the province since Wednesday.

North Kivu has been the scene of repeated clashes for nearly two decades, and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced.