At least 11 people have been killed in clashes between two militias in the western part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The violence started in Batshongo on Friday night and continued the following day in Mongata, a village about 8 kilometers further west. The clashes occurred in the capital province of Kinshasa. The Mobondo militants attacked the village of Batshongo, in Kwango province. Two soldiers, one police officer, and two civilians were killed in the attack. The spokesman later reported that the death toll had risen to 11 people.
The Kwango government has set a curfew in response to the emergency from 8 p.m. until the early hours of Sunday morning. Details of the clashes remain hazy, and it has not been independently confirmed by AFP. A police or army spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
Conflict first erupted last year in Mai-Ndombe province over customary tithes between the Teke and Yaka communities. The Teke consider themselves indigenous to the region, while the Yaka and other communities consider themselves newer arrivals. Tensions over a hike in a customary tax paid to Teke chiefs, paid by all communities, including Teke farmers, boiled over in June 2022. At least 300 people have been killed since then in Mai-Ndombe, according to Human Rights Watch. The fighting has since spilled over into the neighboring provinces of Kwango and Kinshasa.
On Thursday, a soldier and four militants were killed in an alleged Mobondo attack in the village of Nguma in Kinshasa province. The festering conflict in western DRC has been largely overlooked amid the violence in the country’s east, where the M23 rebellion has conquered swathes of territory.