15 die in Hutu militia attack in east DR Congo
Posted Friday, January 8 2016 at 10:07
Fifteen people died in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo overnight when Hutu rebels from Rwanda attacked civilians in the latest ethnic killings in the region, authorities and the military said Thursday.
The assault took place in Miriki, 110 kilometres (65 miles) north of Goma, capital of conflict-torn North Kivu province.
The attack left "15 dead and eight injured", said Charles Bambara, public information director for the UN peacekeeping force, MONUSCO.
Bokele Joy, administrator of the Lubero area under which Miriki falls, told AFP that "the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) is responsible."
The army as well as leaders of the local Nande people, rivals of the local Hutu, also accused the FDLR Hutu group based in eastern Congo and said to include perpetrators of the 1994 genocide in neighbouring Rwanda.
Congolese military spokesman Mak Hazukay said the rebels slipped past the army's positions to carry out the attack using knives or other bladed weapons.
A local human rights defender, Souleymane Mokili, said he had seen the bodies of the victims, which bore "machete and bullet" wounds.
The Congolese army last year launched an offensive to try to push the FDLR out of the east, where the rebels have been wreaking havoc since the genocide of mostly ethnic Tutsis across the border in Rwanda.
In October, FDLR members were accused of stabbing and injuring three people in Lubero, one of the traditional homelands of central Africa's Nande tribe.
Local sources have linked the attacks in Lubero to attempts by a local Nande leader to bar the return to the area of displaced Congolese Hutus, whom he accuses of trying to "conquer" Nande land.