INSHASA – An ethnic Nande militia in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo killed about 30 civilians, mostly Hutus, on Sunday morning, local sources said, in an apparent escalation of violence between the two groups that has flared repeatedly this year.
Joy Bokele, territorial administrator in North Kivu province’s Lubero territory, told Reuters that fighters from the Mai Mai Mazembe militia attacked the village of Luhanga at about 5am with guns and machetes.
“For the time being, we have a provisional toll of about 30 deaths and about 20 wounded,” Bokele said.
Militias claiming to represent the two ethnic groups have engaged in tit-for-tat violence throughout the year that has killed dozens of civilians.
Bokele said there was no known motive behind the attack but the Centre of Study for the Promotion of Peace, Democracy and Human Rights, a local activist group, said the killings followed a week of threats by the militiamen against local Hutus.
Tensions between the Hutu and neighbouring communities have spiked since Congo’s army launched a military offensive last year against the main Hutu militia in the region, displacing large numbers of fighters and civilians.