Dozens killed in DRC mili­tia at­tack

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

AT least 34 civil­ians have been killed in a bout of eth­nic vi­o­lence in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo’s east­ern re­gion, au­thor­i­ties said, af­ter a week of soar­ing ten­sions.

Sun­day’s at­tack by the Mai-Mai Mazembe, a Nande eth­nic mili­tia, tar­geted a camp for dis­placed peo­ple in the Hutu vil­lage of Luhanga, lo­cal of­fi­cial Joy Bokele said.

“They started by at­tack­ing the FARDC [DRC mil­i­tary] po­si­tion. While they were at­tack­ing the FARDC, an­other group was ex­e­cut­ing the pop­u­la­tion with bladed weapons or bul­lets,” Bokele said.

Bokele added that one of the at­tack­ers was killed in the clashes.

Ten­sions be­tween the Nande and Hutu have been run­ning high in the trou­bled east of the coun­try, shaken by two decades of fight­ing over land, eth­nic ten­sions and min­eral riches.

The Nande ac­cuse Con­golese Hu­tus of sup­port­ing Rwan­dan rebel group, the FDLR. The Hu­tus say they are look­ing for land where they can set­tle for farm­ing and ac­cuse the Nande of try­ing to ex­pel them.

Sun­day’s at­tack is the worst in­ter-com­mu­nal vi­o­lence in a year. Dozens of peo­ple have died since the start of the year in fight­ing be­tween the Nande and the Hu­tus.

“If the army had not in­ter­vened, there would have been many more dead,” a mil­i­tary source said. “The mili­tia was search­ing for mem­bers of the Hutu com­mu­nity and wreaked car­nage be­fore burn­ing down the vil­lage en­tirely,” said a lo­cal rights group, the Cen­tre for the Pro­mo­tion of Peace, Democ­racy and Hu­man Rights (CEPADHO). “The at­tack­ers were there for more than an hour.”

The UN mis­sion in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, or MONUSCO, said a peace­keep­ing force in the area had heard gun­shots and was “quickly de­ployed and neu­tralised the at­tack”, killing one of the at­tack­ers.

The UN mis­sion said 15 peo­ple were wounded and had been evac­u­ated. — AP

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