Thousands Flee Fighting In DR Congo's South Kivu

Thousands flee fighting in DR Congo's South Kivu

Uvira, DR Congo, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 13th May, 2021 ) :Thousands of people have fled fighting between rival armed groups in the volatile east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, security and militia sources said Thursday.

The fighting broke out Wednesday in South Kivu province in the heights overlooking Lake Tanganyika near the border with Burundi, the sources said.

The UN radio Okapi also reported violence "between two militias".

Dozens of armed groups operate in the east of the vast central African country.

The sources said the latest fighting was between a local militia called Biloze Bishambuke and Twigwaneho combattants from the Rwandan-speaking Tutsi Congolese community known as the Banyamulenge.

They are led by an army deserter, colonel Michel Rukunda, the sources said.

Militia spokesman Aimable Nabulizi told AFP the fighting was continuing Thursday morning, saying the Twigwaneho and allies "attacked our positions" in three areas.

He said three of the attackers died as well as one militiaman, adding that three civilians were wounded.

An army spokesman in the region, Captain Dieudonne Kasereka, confirmed the fighting, telling AFP: "The reality is that these armed groups have been fighting for nearly a month.

"Currently we have counted around 5,000 displaced people from the High Plateaux," Kasereka said.

Speaking on behalf of the displaced people, Felix Serayi told AFP that more than 4,000 had taken refuge in the Ruzizi plain north of the city of Uvira.

"Most of us are living with host families, without aid, we're living with people of good will," he said.

Despite repeated drives to restore peace and stability, the mountainous part of South Kivu province has suffered years of conflict between the local Banyamulenge, Babembe, Banyindu and Bafulero communities.

Meanwhile in Uvira, army spokesman Kasereka said a high-ranking military officer shot dead a lawyer during a drunken dispute in a bar.

The killing led to clashes in the city early Thursday, with angry residents torching a police station, according to a civil society representative.