Ten people were burnt to death in ethnic attacks in DR Congo’s volatile east and seven fishermen were missing Saturday in Lake Edward, where tensions have spiked with the Ugandan navy.
A Congolese soldier was also killed and a civilian injured in separate clashes with Uganda’s Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group in the eastern region of Beni, army spokesman Captain Mak Hazukay said.
The latest violence in the restive provinces of North and South Kivu underscores the fragility of a region which has been wracked by ethnic and rebel violence since the mid-1990s.
We deplore the deaths of 10 persons in fires. All those killed were displaced people and were burnt in their huts.
It is the theatre of a slew of players ranging from local militias to rebel groups from neighbouring Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda fighting over the region’s rich mineral resources.
The ten charred bodies were found on Saturday in South Kivu after clashes involving three ethnic groups, the Banyamulenge, Bafuliro and Banyindu, the official in charge of the Tanganyika sector John Mwimiwa said.
The Banyamulenge, or Congolese Tutsis, are regarded as foreigners by the other two ethnic groups and often clash with them. Each has their own militia.
“Several villages were attacked yesterday by the Ngumino militia and the Forebu (Popular Forces of Burundi) rebel group active in the Uvira and Fizi districts,” Mwimiwa said.
“We deplore the deaths of 10 persons in fires. All those killed were displaced people and were burnt in their huts.”
The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said 76,000 people had been displaced in the region this year due to violence between the three groups.
Lieutenant-Colonel Antoine Bagenyi, the army commander of the area, confirmed the clashes to AFP but did not give details.
Claude Misare, the head of a local NGO, said the dead included four children and two women.
The villages are located about 200 kilometres (125 miles) west of Uvra, the second largest town in South Kivu province.