United Nations said on Monday that at least 21 people have been killed and 40 others have been injured along with dozens of houses being burned in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, showing concern over rising ethnic violence.
Since last month, fighting between FDLR -a Rwandan Hutu militia operating in eastern Congo- and other local groups were intensified after authorities accused the Hutu militia for killing at least 14 ethnic Nande in North Kivu province.
In a statement, the UN said that the fighting had reached an “alarming level” and could cause “large-scale violence” in the region, as well as the displacement of civilians. It also received reports of looting, abduction and rape over the past few days.
Over the last two decades, ethnic rivalries, foreign occupations and competition for mineral-rich land have fuelled persistent turmoil among eastern Congo’s dozens of rebel groups, costing millions of lives.
Since Congo's army launched a military offensive last year against the FDLR, tensions have escalated between Hutu and neighbouring communities, displacing a massive numbers of fighters and Hutu civilians.
Last Wednesday, Congolese Army and UN peacekeepers were forced to shoot into the air, in a nearby town, to disperse Hutu and Nande villagers following clashes with matches and batons between the two groups.