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KWANGO: Death Toll in Popokabaka Attacks Rises to 17 As Mobondo Demand Ransom

Seven (7) more people have died at the hands of the Mobondo militia group’s attacks in Popokabaka territory of Ipongi city in the Kwango Province, southwest DR Congo, independent sources have revealed.

The new deaths recorded sees the number of victims that have lost their lives rise to 17 from the initial 10 recorded after the attacks carried by the Mobondo last Friday.

On Monday, it was revealed that the new deaths recorded were among victims who had been taken under hostage on Friday by the Mobondo and were killed after failure to pay the ransom that was demanded.

Government in Kwango Province also confirmed on Monday that victims who managed to pay the ransom had been released and reunited with their families.

The civil society in Ipongi have expressed concern over the situation in Popokabaka territory that has been left unpeopled as citizens continue fleeing the territory in search of refuge in the bushes.

“Ipongi has become deserted, there is no one left. The population is in the bush for fear of being killed by the Mobondo militiamen who rule this part of Kwango province. This insecurity is causing a massive movement of moved to other towns, thus creating a disastrous humanitarian situation which requires urgent assistance” Symphorien Kwengo, vice-president of the Kwango civil society said.

Meanwhile, Kwango Provincial Government spokesperson Adelar Nkisi revealed on Monday that there were plans underway for the state to hold peace dialogue with the Mobondo in order to put to an end the insecurity while more military personnel was set to be deployed in the area.

The civil society in the province reiterated its stance on the need for dialogue between the two parties as they only way to restore peace in Kwango.

“Restore order, peace and security in this corner of the Kwango province, organize a peace conference of reconciliation with the real stakeholders (government of the Republic, civil society and those who make these Mobondo). Only the dialogue dialogue will be able to solve this problem definitively” Kwengo said.

The situation in Kwango has been tense since last May with the Mobondo having raided and killed people in other areas aside Popokabaka including Kwamouth, Bagata and Maluku.

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