Assailants killed at least a dozen patients in an attack on a clinic in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo overnight, two witnesses said on Friday, blaming the raid on Islamist fighters allied to the Islamic State group.
Insurgents believed to be from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group that has operated in the dense forests of eastern Congo for decades, attacked a church clinic at around 10.00 pm on Thursday night, the witnesses said.
An army spokesman confirmed the attack in the town of Lume in North Kivu province, but did not say how many people died, reports Reuters.
A witness said there were seven dead, while a nurse at the hospital said the provisional toll was 13 and many were still missing.
"In the hospital ward there were four patients who all burned to death, in the pediatric unit all the mattresses are burned and in the side wards we just collected nine bodies," said Kule Mwenge Salomon, a nurse at Lume health centre.
Kakule Vikere Lem was feeding his father at the clinic when he saw a column of people with torches approaching the town, around 40km (25 miles) south-east of the city of Beni.
"I fled, thinking that they would spare the hospital, but unfortunately they burned my father in the hospital," Vikere said.
Uganda has sent at least 1,700 troops to neighbouring Congo to help fight the ADF after accusing the group of responsibility for a string of bombings in Kampala last year.
The ADF killed more than 1,300 people in the last year, mostly in night-time attacks on remote villages, UN experts said.