AFRICA/DR CONGO - Violence in the east of the country: at least 21 dead in attack on gold mine in Bigaragara

Saturday, 20 August 2022 armed groups   violence  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "Various armed groups led by former leaders of the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) named Makanika, Sematama, Mitabu and their allies have carried out another massacre of civilians and miners in the Bigaragara gold mine. The mine is located located in the region of Mutambala (Fizi plateau, province of South Kivu in eastern DRC)," reads a statement from the Societé Civile Hauts Plateaux de Milimba, sent to Fides.
At least 21 people were killed in the attack: 7 found on the same day of the assault (17 August) and six in the bush in the days that followed, while a further eight were found charred in their homes. The 21 dead are nine women, six children and six men. 414 houses were set on fire in the raid.
Scores of internally displaced people fled the violence in different directions.
"We recall that the village of Bigaragara was actually under the protection of the FARDC, the regular Congolese army, but they left the area," the statement said.
Also on August 17, the town of Bijombo was attacked by the same Tutsi rebels, killing a total of six people, burning 142 houses and vandalizing two primary and secondary schools.
"The internally displaced people are not supported by the Congolese government or humanitarian organizations," said the local civil society representative. "We call on the Congolese government to protect and support the vulnerable populations. We call on humanitarian organizations and people of good will to come to the aid of those people who are in imminent danger," the statement said.
In the Fizi highlands on the border with Burundi, clashes between tribal militias have claimed dozens of lives and displaced several thousand civilians since January. At least six aid workers were kidnapped by gunmen in the Fizi region, according to the UN.
Meanwhile, on August 15, a contingent of the Burundian army was stationed in the Ruzizi region to support the Kenya-led multinational force of East African countries in fighting hundreds of armed groups in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 20/8/2022)