By Crispin Kyalangalilwa
Up to 37 people including women and children were killed in Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern province of South Kivu on Saturday morning in an attack that the regional governor blamed on a dispute over cattle.
The victims, who included several pregnant women, had been shot, stabbed or burned inside their homes. A Reuters cameraman on the scene counted 37 bodies, some of them lying inside a village church.
“It is Congolese who have carried out these attacks. It was about a dispute over cows,” South Kivu governor Marcellin Cishambo told Reuters. “The problem is that everyone in this area carries a weapon.”
He gave a lower estimate of 27 for the number of dead.
South Kivu, a mountainous region rich in minerals including gold, is home to members of tribe who fled neighbouring Burundi after the end of a civil war in 2005.
Some locals from the Congolese Bafuliru tribe blamed rebels from Burundi’s National Liberation Forces(FNL) for the attacks.
The Congolese government has said it plans to target foreign rebels operating in its eastern region after the defeat of the M23 rebel group late last year.