Communal Clash Displaces Thousands In Tshilenge District, DR Congo

The current clashes are the offshoot of decades old conflict between the two ethnic groups in the Baluba Lubilanji sector.

Many villagers have been displaced by a fresh communal clash between the Bena Nshimba and Ben Kapuya ethnic communities in the Baluba Lubilanji sector of Katanda territory in the Tshilenge district of Kasai-Oriental in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

HumAngle understands that thousands of people have fled their homes into bushes when fight erupted on Saturday, May 7, between the two communities 

Congolese national police on Tuesday, May 10, stopped an attack by a group of individuals claiming to be Bena Kapuya tribesmen. The attack targeted Bena Nshimba tribesmen in the locality of Bakwa Masela.

“Last Saturday, a group of Bena Kapuya tribesmen associated with Bena Mwembia went on a rampage in the locality of Bena Nshimba Bena Mbumbu burning down  21 houses in the fray,” a local source revealed.

Last April, these inter-communal conflicts resulted in the death of one man, while several were wounded and many houses were razed down on both sides.

In 2020, at least 400 houses were razed during similar clashes leading to the displacement of thousands of people.

The current clashes are the offshoot of decades old conflict between the two ethnic groups in the Baluba Lubilanji sector. This sector has three main tribal groups: the Bena Kapuya, the Bena Muembia, and the Bena Nshimba.

The Bena Kapuya has always laid claim to Bena Nshimba lands and the tribal chief, Mutombo Kasala II, of Bena Kapuya has not been very anxious to have the problem solved while the Bena Nshimba traditional ruler, Vincent de Paul Mutombo has vowed to reclaim all the Bena Nshimba lands seized by the Bena Kapuya and the Bena Muembia.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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