A power struggle between rival militias in Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern Maniema province has left 14 people dead, local sources said Wednesday. The clashes pitted elements of two ethnic armed groups, one led by a fighter called Hercules, the other led by a man calling himself Mitterrand, said Modeste Ngimbi, administrator of the Kabambare territory near South Kivu province.
“The toll which we have is 14 dead” with fatalities on both sides, he said, adding that there had been a “massive displacement of the population” to nearby towns. A humanitarian coordination meeting was held this week to discuss aid needs. One participant, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the toll, which had come from three days of fighting from last Saturday to Monday. Two of the 14 dead were fighters, the others civilians, the source said.
Rape, torture, looting and destruction of property were also reported, as well as the presence of children in the ranks of armed groups. He said the security situation had worsened since last December in the region, where there is a power struggle between communities, notably over control of gold mines.