Washington: The US Tuesday called for efforts to wipe out illegal armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as the number of civilians killed there has risen to some 200 in less than two months.
In a statement, State Department spokesman Jeffrey Rathke voiced "deep concern" about increasing attacks near the town of Beni in North Kivu Province, allegedly by the Allied Democratic Forces(ADF), a Ugandan rebel group founded in the 1990s, Xinhua reported.
He urged "urgent" and "intensified" efforts by the DRC military and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC to "protect the civilian population and to eradicate all illegal armed groups in eastern Congo" including the ADF and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda.
Almost 200 people, among them women and children, have lost their lives in the last 45 days in attacks that include reported beheadings, mutilations and rapes, Rathke said.
"These are terrible atrocities that should not go unpunished," he added, urging the DRC government to open a "prompt" and "thorough" investigation.