updated 5/14/2009 2:34:24 PM ET 2009-05-14T18:34:24

An attack by an ethnic Hutu militia on a village in eastern Congo has left at least 90 people dead, a United Nations official said Thursday.

At least 60 of the victims of the attack by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda were civilians, said Nestor Yombo, spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

He says the attack was on Saturday and Sunday in the village of Ekingi, around 900 miles northeast of Kinshasa, Congo's capital.

The Hutu militia is made-up in part of fighters from the Hutu ethnic group accused of taking part in neighboring Rwanda's 1994 genocide against that country's Tutsi minority.

Earlier this year, the Congolese and Rwandan armies launched a joint operation to try to flush the Hutu militia out of the hills of eastern Congo where they took refuge in the late 1990s — but the operation has had disastrous consequences for civilians.

Although large numbers of Hutu fighters have turned themselves in, the remaining members of the militia have led increasingly violent reprisal attacks against locals.

Despite successful democratic elections three years ago, Congo — a vast country the size of Western Europe — has struggled to contain the cycle of violence that continues to wrack its lawless east.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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