On Tuesday, March 12, UN investigators presented findings estimating the death toll of the December 2018 intercommunal clashes in Yumbi (Mai-Ndombe province) had exceed 500 and is likely to rise. Investigators estimated that at least 535 people of the Banunu community were killed by villagers of the Batende ethnic group over a three-day period. Officials added that the death toll is likely to rise following further investigation efforts as earlier UN reports indicated that at least 890 people had died. The report also detailed that as many as 19,000 people fled the violence, including roughly 16,000 who escaped into neighboring Republic of Congo. Heightened tensions between the Batende and Banunu groups may lead to further intercommunal violence.
Local and UN officials indicates Batende villagers targeted Banunu villagers across Yumbi (Mai-Ndombe province) resulting in the deaths of hundreds of villagers from December 16-18, 2018. The alleged source of the conflict was the burial site of a Banunu chief.
Individuals in Mai Ndombe province, particularly around Yumbi, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for violent activity, avoid any public demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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