Armed men attacked a village in the eastern South Kivu region of the country last weekend, locking people in their homes before burning them down and killing nearly 40 villagers, mainly women and children, the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) said today.
MONUC said the report it received yesterday also said that as a result of the attack on Saturday seven survivors from the targeted village, Ntulumamba, were treated for injuries.
MONUC's Pakistani South Kivu brigade dispatched an airborne Quick Reaction Force (QRF) to investigate, it said. At the site, located in Kalonge chiefdom 75 kilometres north of Bukavu, "they found the charred ruins of 10 huts and were shown what appeared to be two freshly dug mass graves;" they collected witness descriptions and took photographs, but were unable to find out the exact death toll.
"A provisional death toll stands at 39 civilians, mainly women and children, and seven injured," MONUC said, adding that a second team would go to collect evidence and ascertain the facts.
The follow-up team would comprise MONUC Human Rights, Child Protection and Humanitarian staff, as well as forensic specialists and representatives of the DRC's judicial authorities, it said.