Goma, Democratic Republic Of Congo: Suspected Rwandan rebels killed seven people overnight in a region of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that has been shaken by ethnic violence, local officials said today.
Armed assailants torched 60 houses in Kibirizi and killed their victims with machetes or shot them dead, Deogratias Kitabingwa, the regional governor's representative, told AFP.
He said the attack was carried out by Rwandan Hutu rebels who are members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
Five of the dead were from the local Nande tribe and two were Hutus, Kitabingwa said.
The attack came came only hours after President Joseph Kabila left the region after a four-day stay.
Kibirizi is located 85 kilometres (50 miles) northwest of Goma, the main town of North Kivu province, which borders Uganda and Rwanda.
The province has been the scene of repeated clashes for nearly two decades, and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced.
The FDLR is a remnant of a military group comprising mainly ethnic Hutus opposed to Tutsi influence.
Set up in the eastern DRC after the genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994, the FDLR has been accused of committing frequent atrocities against civilians in areas under its control. Several of its chiefs face accusations of war crimes or crimes against humanity.
Kitabingwa's account was supported by Gaston Kakule who heads a local citizens' association.
Dozens of people have died since the start of the year in clashes between Nande tribespeople and ethnic Hutus.
The Nande accuse Congolese Hutus of abetting the FDLR. The Hutus, in return, say they are looking for land where they can settle for farming and accuse the Nande of trying to expel them.