Villagers hacked to death in suspected ethnic dispute in western DRC

By Michael Fitzpatrick - RFI
Congo UNHCR  P. Taggart
MAR 27, 2023 LISTEN
UNHCR / P. Taggart

Fourteen people were killed in western Democratic Republic of Congo, including 12 villagers hacked to death with machetes, a local official said on Monday.

Unidentified assailants attacked the village of Kimpasi, in Kwilu province's Bagata territory, on Friday, according to the territory's administrator Amedee Bangambuma.

They first killed 12 people with machetes and then murdered a local administrative official who came to investigate the situation, Bangambuma said.

The closest police station is nearly 100km away.
On Monday, militants also killed Kimpasi's village chief, the local administrator said, adding that all the victims were members of the Teke community.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Western DRC has seen fighting between Teke and Yaka communities since June, in a conflict first sparked by a dispute over taxes and land.

Members of the Teke community consider themselves the original inhabitants of villages along 200 kilometres of the Congo River. Yaka people settled in the area after the Teke.

The Democratic Republic of Congo's government says 180 people have been killed in the conflict, although that death toll is considered by aid groups to be conservative.

At least 15 people died in a similar attack on two Teke villages earlier this month. 

Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes, according to the United Nations.