An administrator in North Kivu province in Congo's east says 23 bodies have been found after an attack on several villages by suspected rebels overnight.

Amisi Kalonda, Beni territory official, said Thursday that bodies were found in several small villages about 2 kilometers (1 mile) north of the town of Beni. He said suspected rebels with the Allied Democratic Forces killed with machetes and axes.

People took to the streets of Beni on Tuesday to protest insecurity in the area. Six people were killed Monday night not far from the Mavivi airport, said civil society leader Teddy Kataliko.

The ADF, which originated in neighboring Uganda, is one of many armed groups operating in eastern Congo, staging sporadic attacks on towns there and against Congolese military units. The group's leader was arrested the other week.