Twelve people were killed in 48 hours in the troubled Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, an official said on Tuesday, where militia attacks have left more than 1,000 dead in recent years.
Five were killed on Monday and another seven on Tuesday in the villages of Mayolo and Andasia, local official Innocent Madaku Ndala told AFP.
“We have just buried all of them” in their respective villages, he said.
Like most recent killings, the attacks were blamed on a militia named the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO).
CODECO is drawn from the Lendu ethnic group, a predominantly farming community who have historically clashed with the Hema, a group of traders and herders.
Hundreds of people have died in the North and South Kivu and Ituri provinces since last October when the armed forces launched a crackdown on armed groups in the troubled east of the vast country.
Eastern DR Congo has been chronically unstable for a quarter of a century, its population terrorized by militias that are chiefly the legacy of two major wars.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) said last week that 500,000 people have been displaced in the violence since late 2017, and international observers have spoken of “crimes against humanity” committed in the region.
It is unclear why the violence restarted then, with the ICG arguing that local Lendu leaders do not support the militia.
Former war chiefs from the previous period of ethnic clashes in 1999-2003 have been in the region for several days, attempting to open peace talks at the request of President Felix Tshisekedi.