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20 killed as gunmen ambush civilians in DR Congo

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Friday, June 30, 2023

DR Congo map showing the capital Kinshasa and Kwamouth territory. | Courtesy

At least 20 civilians were killed in an ambush by armed men in western Democratic Republic of Congo this week, according to a rights group.

Human Rights Watch said Thursday the latest attack comes amid a spiraling cycle of inter-communal violence that has forced thousands to flee a deepening humanitarian crisis.

Mobondo militiamen ambushed a truck carrying civilians mostly traders on Monday June 26 in Milundu village northeast of Kinshasa, the group said in a statement.

The attackers reportedly set the vehicle ablaze.

It understood the conflict over land and customary claims erupted in June 2022 between “native” and “non-native” communities – leaving hundreds killed.

“The simmering dispute escalated into widespread violence after many farmers, mainly Yaka, rejected an increase of customary royalties by native Teke chiefs,” it said.

Human Rights Watch previously documented the conflict, which has expanded across the provinces of Mai-Ndombe, Kwango, and Kwilu and reached the outskirts of Kinshasa.

Thousands of people have fled their homes, triggering a humanitarian crisis, according to the rights monitors.

HRW said the insecurity is preventing many students from attending their end-of-year school exams and putting voter registration for the next general elections in December on hold.

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