Brutal clashes between communities over farmland in central DR Congo earlier this month left 11 people dead, almost 10,000 displaced, and nearly a thousand homes torched, a local charity said Wednesday.
The renewed violence in the vast Central African country’s Kasai comes after the region saw thousands killed during a bloody 2016-17 rebellion.
Pierre Mulumba Mpoyi, the head of the Catholic charity Caritas in Kasai-Oriental Province’s capital Mbuji-Mayi, said the latest clashes “broke out on September 5 and continued for three days.”
“The provisional toll is 11 dead, seven seriously wounded,” he told AFP.
The charity has identified 924 homes that were torched, he said, adding that the dead and wounded came from all the communities.
The fighting saw the communities of Bena Kabuya and Bena Mwembia clash with the Bena Nshimba over land for farming.
A territorial administration official confirmed that the clashes had taken place, but did not give figures for the number of wounded and dead, saying the first report must be to the province’s governor.
Humanitarian sources have estimated that the fighting has led nearly 10,000 people to flee their villages into the bush.
Aid group workers are expected to visit the scene of the fighting on Thursday to inspect the scale of the devastation.
Kasai was previously shaken by more than two years of violence after security forces killed the Kamuina Nsapu insurgent group’s tribal chieftain in 2016 after he rebelled against the government.
Beyond a death toll that UN sources put at some 3,000 between September 2016 and October 2017, the rebellion displaced around 1.4 million people.