Congolese army

File photo showing the army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. AFP

In Mai-Ndombe province, people told AFP that fighting broke out between the Yaka and Teke people after a tax and land dispute.

Members of the Teke community consider themselves the original inhabitants of villages spread over 200 kilometers (124 mi) along the Congo River.

In early August, there was a knife fight with the Yaka community, who later settled in the town of Kwamut, about 100 kilometers from the capital Kinshasa.

“A clash between the Yaka and the Teke in May-Ndombe province killed 18 people, including nine on the Yaka side of Masia, including the chief of the land and his wife,” Culture Minister Catherine Katungu said. Minutes of the Council of Ministers.

He added: “175 houses were burnt and an AK47 belonging to an element of the Congolese National Police was taken by Teke attackers.”

Rita Bola, governor of Mai-Ndombe province, said Kwamut was “calm now”.

“The army is now deployed everywhere to ensure the safety of the population,” Bola said.

Abbe Felicien Boduka, president of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Inongo Diocese in Mai-Ndombe, said members of the Yaka community refused to pay the traditional Teke chiefs a “customary honorarium”.

“We Yaka no longer wanted to pay this tax because the Constitution allows the Congolese to settle freely anywhere in the national territory,” said Gregoire Losoto, a development worker who abandoned cassava fields and fish ponds in Kwamut.

“The situation worsened in August because Yaka appointed their customary chief to replace the former Teke customary chief,” he said.

According to several witnesses interviewed by AFP, the Yaka chief and his wife were “killed by the attackers”.

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