News Africa

Friday 19 September 2014

Cattle dispute blamed as dozens killed in Congo massacre

Published 07/06/2014 | 20:20

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A Congolese soldier gestures as he patrols the waters of Lake Kivu in search for passengers of a boat that capsized in the lake near Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, May 6, 2014. At least one person died and a dozen others were missing after a boat capsized in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a spokesman for the United Nations mission in the country said on Monday. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: SOCIETY DISASTER)
A Congolese soldier gestures as he patrols the waters of Lake Kivu in search for passengers of a boat that capsized in the lake near Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. At least one person died and a dozen others were missing after a boat capsized in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a spokesman for the United Nations mission in the country said on Monday. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe

Up to 37 people including women and children were killed in Democratic Republic of Congo's eastern province of South Kivu on Saturday morning in an attack that the regional governor blamed on a dispute over cattle.

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The victims, who included several pregnant women, had been shot, stabbed or burned inside their homes. A Reuters cameraman on the scene counted 37 bodies, some of them lying inside a village church.

"It is Congolese who have carried out these attacks. It was about a dispute over cows," South Kivu governor Marcellin Cishambo told Reuters. "The problem is that everyone in this area carries a weapon."

He gave a lower estimate of 27 for the number of dead.

South Kivu, a mountainous region rich in minerals including gold, is home to members of tribe who fled neighboring Burundi after the end of a civil war in 2005.

Some locals from the Congolese Bafuliru tribe blamed rebels from Burundi's National Liberation Forces(FNL) for the attacks.

The Congolese government has said it plans to target foreign rebels operating in its eastern region after the defeat of the M23 rebel group late last year.

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