DRC president Joseph Kabila
At least 34 civilians were killed Sunday in a flare up of ethnic violence in restive eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, authorities said, following a week of soaring tensions.
"The provisional toll is 34 civilians killed," said local official Joy Bokele, referring to an attack by a Nande ethnic militia on a displaced persons camp in the Hutu village of Luhanga.
"They started by attacking the FARDC (DR Congo military) position. While they were attacking the FARDC, another group was executing the population with bladed weapons or bullets," Bokele said.
Bokele added that the attack was carried out by the Mai-Mai Mazembe, a Nande "self-defence" militia, and that one of the attackers was killed in the clashes.
Tensions between the Nande and Hutu peoples have been running high in the restive east, shaken by two decades of fighting over land, ethnic tensions and mineral riches.
The Nande accuse Congolese Hutus of abetting the FDLR Rwandan rebel group. The Hutus, in return, say they are looking for land where they can settle for farming and accuse the Nande of trying to expel them.