Officials: ‘Drunk’ Congo soldiers kill 15

Officials say among the victims, all of them civilians, are men, women and children.

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Two drunken Congolese soldiers have gunned down a total of 15 people in separate attacks in volatile eastern DR Congo, authorities said Monday. One “inebriated” soldier killed eight passengers and wounded seven on Monday aboard a boat on Lake Tanganyika, South-Kivu province’s Fizi territory administrator Aime Kawaya Mutipula told AFP.

“Among the victims, all of them civilians, are men, women and children,” he said.

Local army spokesman Marc Elongo said the soldier, Lukusa Kabamba, was then “lynched” by angry residents before he could be arrested and died from his injuries. The local civil society group coordinator Andre Byadunia had also earlier said the soldier had been “locked up” and urged “the authorities to put him on trial and sentence him”.

On Sunday, another soldier shot dead the bodyguard of a colonel before killing the colonel and five civilians at Bambu, in Djugu territory, the local authorities announced in Ituri province.

The village “woke up Sunday morning to shooting and thought it was an attack”, said local official Claude Mateso. But, he explained, it was a soldier who had been disarmed by his colleagues the previous evening because he was drunk.

The killer, who had recovered his gun, was eventually shot dead by another soldier who gave chase.

“It’s an isolated case and we strongly condemn it,” said Lieutenant Jules Ngongo, army spokesman for Ituri.

“We are waiting to learn the real reasons behind this irresponsible and criminal act,” he added.

Meanwhile in neighbouring North-Kivu, six people were wounded by a grenade thrown into a crowd by soldiers trying to arrest a young man in Kisovu village, in Masisi territory, said local administrative secretary Ngendahimana Eugene Gishoma.

All three provinces in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been wracked by violence linked to numerous armed groups for the last 25 years. The government has put Ituri and North-Kivu under a “state of siege” since last May, but security forces have failed to restore peace.

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