File photo shows a baby in a refugee camp in Ituri Province, Sept. 11, 2006. (Xinhua Photo/Wang Xiaojun)
BUNIA, DR Congo, March 2 (Xinhua) -- At least 40 people were killed from Thursday night to Friday in the village of Maze following inter-ethnic conflicts between the Hema and Lendu communities in Ituri province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), according to the security and local sources.
According to the security sources, most of the victims killed were from the Hema ethnic group who were surprised by the Lendu assailants attacking their village late at night.
The vice governor of Ituri province told Xinhua that a security meeting is underway between the authorities to determine the security situation. Local sources of civil society and villagers contacted by Xinhua also confirmed the information on the victims.
"The bodies of the people killed that night in this village of Maze are still outside, we want the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs of the central government who is staying in Bunia to first come and see these bodies of the victims before the burial so that they realize the massacres that have been going on for a few months in the territory of Ndjugu in Ituri, "said Jean Bosco Lalo, president of the Ituri civil society.
For more than two months, hostilities between Hema and Lendu in the territory of Ndjugu have already caused the death of more than 100 people. Thousands of houses are also burned and more than 60,000 people have moved to Bunia, the capital of the province, but thousands more have crossed into Uganda to find refuge, according to local aid workers.
The authorities have deployed the armed forces over the past week to support elements of the police who are currently overwhelmed by the severity of hostilities on the ground.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has described the situation in Ituri as the human slaughterhouse where thousands of people are killed.