The geopolitical situations in the Great Lakes region, currently characterised by damaged relations between neighbouring countries and a political impasse inside the Democratic Republic of Congo could plunge the region into another conflict.
Last week, at least 72 people were killed in renewed fighting between ethnic groups in eastern Congo, days after clashes between the armies of DRC and Rwanda on their common border.
Radio Okapi, owned and run by the UN Observer Mission in DRC, Monusco, reported that the ethnic clashes in Rutshuru in North Kivu, where at least 23 people died, pitted Congolese tribes of the Hunde and Nande on one side and groups of Hutus of Rwandan origin, mainly members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
FDLR rebels have operated in eastern DRC for 23 years, with majority of the senior members accused of taking part in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis. The rebels often clash with Congolese ethnic groups who want them out of Congo.
North Kivu Governor Julien Paluku, said; “We are still ascertaining the number of people killed but so far 23 people, including the members of the militia, have been confirmed dead. Calm has been restored since Wednesday.”
According to international Catholic charity Caritas, another 49 people were killed in fresh in ethnic clashes between the Lendu and Hema in Ituri.