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LAND DISPUTE: Nine Killed In Eastern Congo

Nine civilians and three security officials were killed when two neighbouring communities in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo took up arms in a violent land dispute, the army and the head of a local civil society group said on Wednesday.

Clashes broke out between the villages of Nyatsa and Adroval in volatile Ituri province on Sunday and Monday, provincial army spokesman Jules Ngongo Tshikudi said.

In addition to the civilian deaths, two police officers and one soldier were killed while trying to intervene. Two other police officers and two soldiers are missing, he added.

The head of a local civil society group, Dieudonne Lossa, said the incident was the culmination of a long-standing disagreement over which village owned a portion of land.

He did not specify what caused the dispute to escalate into a gunfight.

East Congo is rife with unrest mainly linked to militia activity left over from a civil war that ended at the turn of the century. Disputes over land also occasionally flare up, particularly between Hema herders and Lendu farmers.

CREDIT: Reuters

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