UN peacekeepers in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo have found the bodies of 23 massacred civilians.

Troops discovered the bodies in the village of Kachele, 60 miles northeast of Bunia. The civilians had been killed with gunfire and machetes.

A UN spokeswoman did not say to which ethnic group the victims belonged.

Most of the victims are believed to have been children, pregnant women & older people.

Almost 3,400 UN peacekeepers are currently deployed in Bunia. A force largely made up of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Nepalese and Uruguayan peacekeepers recently replaced French-led troops there.

Conflict in Bunia and Ituri province has cost at least 50,000 lives since 1999. It is part of a wider war held responsible for millions of deaths in Africa's third biggest country over the past five years.