Africa Human Angle

Vigil in DRC as government raises death toll from violence

D.R. Congo govt, rebels to meet In January – East Africa Bloc

The Community of East African States (EAC) announced Tuesday that armed groups and the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will hold peace talks in January in eastern DRC, following three previous meetings in Kenya.

Congo’s government dramatically increased the death toll from a massacre last week they blamed on M23 rebels, saying that 270 people had been killed in an attack that broke a fragile cease-fire agreement.

Previously, the deaths were estimated at 50 in the attack that took place in the province of North Kivu and has been blamed on the M23 rebel group. In a media briefing, Industry Minister Julien Paluku said those killed were people known to be regular inhabitants of Kishishe.

He added that the victims had no connection with militia groups. Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said a probe into the attack was underway. The conflict between the army and M23 forces has escalated since October.

The violence on November 29 came just five days after a fragile cease-fire agreement was agreed upon between the rebels and Congolese forces. The M23 a militia comprised of mostly ethnic Tutsi fighters from Congo has denied responsibility for the attack.

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