Intense fighting is underway in South Kivu as an allied group of militias backed by a more powerful external military force battle the native Banyamulenge.
The Tutsi-dominated Congolese community of Banyamulenge is concentrated on the High Plateau of South Kivu, in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Local leaders told ChimpReports on Sunday morning that Red-Tabara and Mai Mai fighters yesterday stormed two villages – Irumba and Kaseke with heavy gunfire, killing dozens.
“Today, they are fighting. Even now we have learnt about the those who were killed and are going to visit their families,” said Alexis Byicaza, President of political party, Innovative Forces for the Union and Congolese Democracy.
By Sunday morning, residents were telling ChimpReports that the militias were “advancing to the heart of Minembwe.”
It remains unclear who is helping the Congolese rebels to attack Banyamulenge.
But the targeted area is Minembwe which is said to be harboring Rwandan rebels loyal to dissident General Kayumba Nyamwasa.
But locals said the militants said to be armed by Nyamwasa have since relocated to an area called Ndondo- Bijabo – about 200 kilometers from Minembwe.
Ndondo is known for its vast forests and rivers, providing natural defence positions for Rwandan rebels.
President Kagame recently said in an interview in Brussels that Rwanda and DRC authorities were cooperating to defeat rebels along the border.
But media reports indicated that Rwandan forces have actually been operating from South Kivu in recent months, registering casualties in battles with suspected rebels.
As of Sunday, hundreds of Banyamulenge were fleeing to the forests in fear of their lives.
The attacks have left dozens dead and thousands displaced thousands in recent months.
Byicaza recently wrote to East African leaders, saying they needed to jointly act on the “recent barbaric acts conducted by Red-Tabara militants against Banyamulenge tribe.”
Video: Banyamulenge speak on their deteriorating security situation amid attacks by Mai Mai in South Kivu, DRC
He said the wave of violence that has intensified since the beginning of 2019 has set highland of Minembwe spiraling into chaos again.
“Mai Mai factions and red-Tabara rebels who are fighting the government of Burundi have been armed to fight Banyamulenge. These enemies of peace are destroying and burning homes and property of innocent civilians,” said Byicaza.