At least 19 killed in clashes in eastern DR Congo

BUKAVU, DR CONGO (AFP) – At least 19 people have been killed over several days of clashes between militias in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, according to experts and a local official.

The fighting between rival militias “left 19 dead including two civilians and 17 combatants”, one of the experts in the Hauts Plateaux region told AFP on Friday.

The region has seen conflict between Congolese Tutsis of Rwandan origin, the Banyamulenge, and other communities.

“There was violent fighting since Monday” between Banyamulenge and rival militias, the local official said on condition of anonymity.

“We have counted at least 30 bodies,” he added.

If the death toll is confirmed, it would be one of the biggest flare-ups of violence since the conflict resumed at the start of 2019.

It came as President Felix Tshisekedi announced political talks with lawmakers loyal to his predecessor Joseph Kabila to resolve months of rising tensions in the nation’s fragile coalition government.