Eighteen civilians and one soldier have been killed in attacks by militia groups in western DR Congo, where sectarian violence has flared since June 2022, government officials said Sunday.
The civilians were killed in the village of Final in Kimvula, around 190 kilometres (120 miles) southeast of the capital Kinshasa, allegedly by the “Mobondo” militia last Monday, government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said after a government cabinet meeting.
He said one soldier had also been killed and another was still missing alongside the 18 civilians killed, adding that the village had been burned.
The sectarian violence in the region had waned in recent months before flaring in March, with attacks targeting the Teke community by groups not originally from the area.
The violence comes as the Democratic Republic of Congo is struggling to quell rebellions in the country’s east, where dozens of armed groups have emerged in the mineral-rich area, a legacy of regional wars that raged in the 1990s and 2000s.
DR Congo has repeatedly accused its much smaller neighbour Rwanda of backing the rebels in the east, a charge Kigali denies.