Death Toll From Rebels’ Massacre Close to 300 – DRC

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The Democratic Republic of Congo stated that the civilian death toll from a massacre by rebels with the March 23 movement, known as M23, has risen to 272.

The increased death toll was announced at a press briefing Monday in Kinshasa by Minister of Industry and former governor of North Kivu province, Julien Paluku.

The Congolese army last week accused the March 23 movement rebels, M23, of killing at least 50 civilians in North Kivu’s Kishishe village.

The government later increased the estimate to more than 100.

But Paluku said figures from local groups put the death toll closer to 300. In total, he said, about 272 civilians were killed.

A spokesman for the M23 rebels, Lawrence Kanyuka, said that the group did not target civilians and blamed the Congolese army for breaking a November 23 truce.

But M23 said “stray bullets” from clashes killed eight civilians.