Armed fighters freed around 900 prisoners from a jail in Beni in east Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in a coordinated attack that took place in the early hours of Tuesday.
Only 100 out of more than 1 000 inmates remained following the simultaneous assault on the Kangbayi central prison and on the military camp that provides security to it, said Modeste Bakwanamaha, the town's mayor, blaming a rebel group operating in the area for the attack.
"Unfortunately, the attackers, who came in large numbers, managed to break the door with electrical equipment," Bakwanamaha told the Reuters news agency by phone.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but Bakwanamaha said: "We believe that it was the ADF who did this."
The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group active in east DRC since the 1990s, has killed more than 1 000 civilians since the start of 2019, according to UN figures, despite repeated military campaigns aimed at destroying it.
About six years ago, ADF started to attack villages, killing people using machetes and guns. They have also abducted hundreds over the years. UN officials say up to 500 civilians have been kidnapped in the last year and a half.