KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Days of fighting between armed groups in villages in Congo’s South Kivu province killed at least 43 people, many of them women and children, residents said Saturday.
At least 40 others disappeared after members of the armed group known as Ngumino attacked the village of Kipupu on Thursday while they were being pursued by the Mai Mai rebel group, according to the coordinator of South Kivu civil society groups, Andre Byadunia.
“The clashes between these armed groups began since Thursday,” he said. Houses were set on fire in other villages along the way.
A local army spokesman, Capt. Dieudonne Kasereka, confirmed attacks in several villages that began Thursday and continued into Friday. The army is taking all steps to protect civilians, he said.
Many armed groups are present in Congo’s eastern provinces, fighting for power over the mineral-rich region.