At least 31 people died in weekend clashes triggered by tribal rivalry in Congo’s central Tshikapa region, the deputy governor of Kasai province said on Tuesday.
Clashes between the police and troops on the one hand and members of a local militia on the other from Friday to Monday left “13 dead and 14 injured among security forces” and “18 dead” militia fighters, Hubert Mbingho N’Vula said on state television.
“Public order has been restored,” he said.
Earlier in the day he had given the militia toll as just 10 fighters.
The fighting happened due to a rivalry between the newly named traditional chief and his uncle, “who came to oust his nephew and seize power”, an interior ministry official said.
Exact details of the weekend bloodshed are sketchy but a local official said a group of police and soldiers had been hacked to death on Friday night by the militia members in a village around 30km from Tshikapa who then made off with the troops’ weapons.
Fighting between the militia and government forces lasted throughout Saturday night and a large part of Monday.
Kasai is a particularly isolated and under-developed region in DR Congo.
DR Congo has been wracked by recent violence sparked by a political crisis brought on by the postponing of a presidential election which had been due to take place before the end of the year.
A week ago, at least 34 civilians were killed when a Nande ethnic militia attacked and burnt down a Hutu village in the north east of the country.