ADF rebels killed twelve people in two attacks in an area between West of Uganda & eastern Congo that is struggling to contain an Ebola epidemic, local authorities said on Tuesday.

Suspected rebels from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) simultaneously attacked the towns of Eringeti and Oicha on Monday in the locality of Beni, the epicenter of an Ebola epidemic, Beni’s territorial administrator Kasereka Donat said.

They killed nine in Eringeti and three in Oicha, he said. A local civil society official based in Beni, Janvier Kasahiryo, gave the same figures.

“Despite a strong deployment of Congolese army troops in the region, the population is in a state of total panic because of these attacks,” Donat said.

Since last month, Islamic State has claimed attacks carried out by the ADF, but their relationship with each other is murky.. Though the ADF has never claimed allegiance to Islamic State, the organization has described areas under ADF influence as its ‘Central Africa Province’.

The presence of an Islamist militant group, along with a patchwork of other violent militias and armed criminal bands, has severely hampered efforts to contain the world’s second-worst Ebola epidemic on record.

Ebola has killed more than 1,700 and last week the World Health Organisation declared it an international health emergency.