16 killed in attack on DR Congo mine

today Aug 14, 2009
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KINSHASA (AFP) — At least 16 people were killed during an attack on a mine in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a local administrator said Thursday 13 August, blaming a tribal militia for planning a raid.

Photo: AFP

The attack that also injured 45 people took place on Wednesday 12 August at the village of Mpama-Bisie in Nord-Kivu Province in an ore quarry rich in coltan and gold, regional governor Julien Paluku told AFP.

"Currently, the toll is 16 dead, including 12 civilians, two soldiers and two police," said Paluku, who said that the attack was carried out by Mai-Mai tribal militias reluctant to take part in a regional peace process.

"We rapidly organised a riposte. Since yesterday (Wednesday 12 August), we've had Congolese army reinforcements to chase them to their latest hideouts," the governor added.

Another administrative source, who asked not to be named, also blamed the attack on Mai-Mai militiamen who had formerly fought alongside the DR Congo's army and who believed that magic enhanced their power as warriors.

"They had material and physical support" from Rwandan Hutu rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), who are active in both the Nord-Kivu and Sud-Kivu provinces.

Some of the FDLR are Hutus who took part in Rwanda's 1994 genocide of the minority Tutsis before installing themselves on the far side of the border.

The village of Mpama-Bisie lies in a region that has been particularly unstable for about a decade, with different groups fighting each other since a civil war that ravaged the country between 1998 and 2003.

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