Reports from Congo reveal that over two dozens of people have lost their lives following inter-ethnic clashes fuelled by social tensions between Bantu villagers and the Twa (Pygmies), a hunting and gathering people who have long been denied access to land and basic services.
According to David Ngoy Luhaka, a local priest and member of the Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace, at least 16 people had been killed in fighting since Sunday and many houses were burned near the town of Kabalo, about 1,000 kilometres northwest of Congo’s mining hub of Lubumbashi.
In his account, Rogatien Kitenge, an advocate for Pygmy rights in the provincial capital of Kalemie, said he had received reports of between 13 and 16 people killed in tit-for-tat attacks between the two groups.
The Luba, a Bantu ethnic group, and the Twa, a Pygmy people who inhabit the Great Lakes region, have been in conflict since May 2013 in Democratic Republic of Congo’s Katanga region, known for its rich deposits of copper and other metals.
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