BUNIA, DR Congo: Dozens of people were killed overnight in fresh clashes in DR Congo's volatile northeastern Ituri province, sharpening an ethnic conflict that has already forced tens of thousands to flee, officials said.
At least 30 people were killed in the latest unrest, which came in the wake of the interior minister's visit to the region. "We have recorded 30 deaths. There are certainly other bodies out in the bush. A search is underway," a government official said. Other sources gave a higher toll. "In the village of Djo, (the attackers) killed 10 people, in Gbi, there were 10 dead, and in Takpa, 19 people were shot dead, which makes 39 dead," Willy Pilo Mulindro, head of Bahema-North district, told AFP.
The UN radio channel Okapi gave a toll of 41 dead in four villages, and said the attackers used machetes, arrows and Kalashnikovs. Fighting in Ituri has involved the Hema and Lendu communities, respectively cattle herders and farmers who have a long history of violence over access to land.
At least 130 people have been killed since clashes flared anew in December, according to an unofficial toll compiled by AFP, while humanitarian workers say around 200,000 have been displaced, including tens of thousands who have crossed the border to seek shelter in Uganda. AFP