Land dispute in DR Congo claims lives of over a dozen people

A violent land dispute erupted between two neighboring communities in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday, resulting in the death of nine civilians and three security officials, the army and the leader of a local civil society group said.

In the volatile Ituri province, clashes erupted between Nyatsa and Adroval villages on Sunday and Monday, according to Jules Ngongo Tshikudi, the spokesperson for the provincial army.

Apart from the civilian fatalities, two police officers and one soldier lost their lives while attempting to intervene. Additionally, two other police officers and two soldiers are currently unaccounted for, he further stated.

Dieudonne Lossa, leader of a local civil society group, indicated that the incident marked the climax of a prolonged dispute regarding land ownership between the two villages.

He did not specify what caused the dispute to escalate into a gunfight.

The eastern part of Congo is marked by ongoing turmoil, primarily attributed to lingering militia presence from a civil war that concluded around the start of the century. Periodic land disputes also arise, notably involving clashes between Hema herders and Lendu farmers.

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