KINSHASA, Congo — A rebel group has killed at least 11 people in northeastern Congo, a local official said Sunday.

Isaac Kibira, a deputy to the governor of the Bwito area in North Kivu, said the victims were killed by M23, a rebel group the United Nations says has links to neighboring Rwanda. Rwanda denies the accusation.

M23 rose to prominence 10 years ago when its fighters seized Goma, eastern Congo’s largest city on the border with Rwanda. It derives its name from a March 23, 2009, peace deal that it accuses the Congo government of not implementing.

The bodies of 11 civilians were discovered Sunday morning, left in two neat rows in the grass. M23 had occupied the area since Tuesday, according to Paris-based research group Sahel Intelligence, before withdrawing.

M23 is one of more than 120 armed groups fighting in Eastern Congo, most of whom are vying for land and control of mines with valuable minerals, while others are trying to protect their communities from rival armed groups.

Last week’s armed occupation in the Bwito Region forced hundreds of people out of their homes and into neighboring communities, adding to what the UN estimates are 5.5 million people displaced within Congo due to violence.

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