Six people killed in Democratic Republic of Congo


Six killed in attack in DR Congo's troubled east.Three victims were hacked with machetes," while three others "were burned in their homes.

GOMA - Six people were killed by unidentified assailants in the volatile east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, amid a spike in violence in the restive region, a local official said Saturday.

"Six people of all ethnic backgrounds were killed" on Friday night in Bwalanda, said Alphonse Mahano, a local delegate of North Kivu province.

Mahano was referring to the Hutu, Hunde and Nande groups that live in Bwalanda, which faces the Rwandan border.

A military official confirmed the deadly attack, but provided no further details.

"Three (victims) were hacked with machetes," while three others "were burned in their homes," Mahano said.

"For the moment, we don&39;t know who is to blame" for the killings, he said, adding that a probe was under way.

Dozens of armed groups are active in North Kivu, where government troops have also been accused of preying on the civilian population.

Since the start of 2016, scores of people have been killed in ethnic violence pitting the Nandes against the Congolese Hutus, whom the locals accuse of backing the Rwandan rebels.

On July 19, 10 civilians were killed and their huts torched in Kibirizi, also in North Kivu.

Gaston Kakule, a prominent resident of the area, at the time blamed rebels from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which is active in the area, of staging the attack.

The FDLR was set up by Rwandan Hutu refugees in eastern DR Congo after the 1994 genocide in their country which claimed 800,000 lives.

The group is accused of targeting moderate Hutus as well as people from the Tutsi minority and are regularly blamed for serious human rights violations against civilians in eastern DR Congo.

The Congolese army last February announced a broad offensive against the FDLR, not just in Nord Kivu, but also in Sud Kivu and the northern part of Katanga province in a bid to sweep them clear of national territory.

The Rwandan government, however, accuses the Congolese authorities of doing nothing to tackle the rebels, whom Kigali presents as a major strategic threat even though the FDLR has not launched a big offensive on Rwandan soil in years.

Paid Content