A total of 38 people died in ethnic violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo at the weekend, many massacred when a church was set ablaze, AFP quoted the central African government saying on Tuesday. The killings took place overnight Friday in Mutarule, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Bukavu, the capital of Sud-Kivu province. Locals said that most of the victims were ethnic Bafuliru.
The violence was sparked by the theft of livestock which resulted in retaliation “that led to carnage, causing the deaths of 38 people,” said an official statement issued after an extraordinary meeting of government ministers. Local sources told AFP on Saturday that 14 women, 10 children and a soldier were among the victims. They added that it was a protestant church that had been targeted, and that the other victims were either shot or stabbed to death.
The UN mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO) issued a statement after the killings saying that “fierce fighting” had taken place between the Bafuliru on one side, and the ethnic Barundi and Banyamulenge on the other.
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