Thousands flee latest attack in South Kivu

Most of the people living in the village of Kigalama, in the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) South Kivu Province, have fled after Rwandan rebels launched an attack there last week, the provincial governor said on Monday.

"Thirteen villagers and seven Rwandan rebels were killed," Didace Kaningini Kyoto, the governor, said.

He said almost 5,000 people normally lived in Kigalama, about 130km southwest of the provincial capital, Bukavu. Most of them have now fled.

Kiningini said the attack started late on Thursday when Hutu Rwandan combatants from the Forces de liberation de Rwanda (FDLR) surrounded the village. Then, they killed people who tried to flee with machetes and other crude weapons.

The village is in tropical rainforest making it difficult to evaluate the humanitarian situation, Kaningini added. He said no humanitarian workers were in the area at the time, nor where any members of the army and police.

MONUC said it had been informed of the attack but had not yet been able to verify the information.

"We have sent a mission by air but it has not been able to localise the village," Lt Col Thierry Provendier, the military spokesman for the UN Mission in DRC, said.