NGO SECURITY ALERT: Intercommunal Violence Results in Multiple Deaths and Kidnappings


Alert Number: AI2023-072

Date Issued: August 13, 2023

Region/Country: Southwest Congo

Subject: Intercommunal Violence Results in Multiple Deaths and Kidnappings

Map source: Google Maps


  • Event Description: At least 10 people were killed in an outbreak of intercommunal violence in southwestern Congo. A militia group known as the Mobondo attacked civilians and set fire to houses in the village of Ipongi, located approximately 230 miles (370 kilometers) south of Kinshasa, the capital of Congo. The arrest of a leader of the Yaka-majority Mobondo militia triggered the attack. (Update 8/15 17 people killed source:
  • Impacted Areas: The violence occurred in the village of Ipongi, southwestern Congo.
  • Risk Level: High
  • Affected Groups: Civilians in the village of Ipongi were directly affected by the attack. The ongoing intercommunal tensions pose a risk to various ethnic groups in the region.


The violent attack in southwestern Congo is part of a broader crisis involving intercommunal tensions over land rights and taxes. Tensions escalated in June 2022 between the Teke, historical inhabitants of the region, and farmers from different ethnic groups, including the Yaka. The conflict has already claimed the lives of hundreds of individuals and is marked by cycles of violence that continue to escalate.

The involvement of militia groups like Mobondo highlights the situation’s complexity and the risk of spiraling violence. The ongoing violence has led to displacements, instability, and humanitarian concerns in an already volatile region.

Risk Assessment:

  • Risk Name: Continued Violence
    • Likelihood: 5/5
    • Impact: 4/5
    • Risk Rating: Extreme (20/25)
    • Justification: Ongoing attacks and tensions make further violence almost certain.
  • Risk Name: Kidnappings
    • Likelihood: 4/5
    • Impact: 4/5
    • Risk Rating: High (16/25)
    • Justification: The Mobondo militia's recent actions make further kidnappings likely.
  • Risk Name: Property Damage
    • Likelihood: 4/5
    • Impact: 3/5
    • Risk Rating: Medium (12/25)
    • Justification: Destruction of property and burning of houses remain possible in the near future.
  • Risk Name: Community Division
    • Likelihood: 5/5
    • Impact: 3/5
    • Risk Rating: High (15/25)
    • Justification: Deepening rifts between ethnic communities make division almost certain.
  • Risk Name: Escalation of Conflict
    • Likelihood: 3/5
    • Impact: 4/5
    • Risk Rating: Medium (12/25)
    • Justification: Regional tensions and militia activity increase the risk of broader conflict.

Geopolitical & Global Implications:

The situation in southwestern Congo may influence regional security and humanitarian aid efforts. It may also impact Congo's international standing, requiring concerted national and international efforts.

Additional Notes:

This incident is part of a broader pattern of violence in the region, underlining the need for multi-dimensional interventions, including community dialogue, legal actions, and robust security measures to prevent further deterioration of the situation.


  • Avoid Affected Areas: NGO personnel should avoid travel to the affected areas in southwestern Congo due to the ongoing intercommunal violence.
  • Enhance Security Measures: NGOs operating in Congo should implement heightened security measures, including monitoring the situation closely, ensuring staff safety, and reviewing evacuation plans.
  • Engage with Local Communities: NGOs should consider engaging with local communities, civil society organizations, and authorities to foster dialogue and mitigate inter-communal tensions.


Title: "Intercommunal Violence in Southwest Congo: Land Rights and Taxes Dispute"

Location: Southwestern Congo, village of Ipongi
Date: Aug. 12, 2023

Event Details and Context:

In southwestern Congo, tensions have escalated into violent conflict between different ethnic groups, particularly the Teke and Yaka communities. The flashpoint is a dispute over land rights and customary taxes, which has spiraled into a deepening crisis that resulted in at least 10 deaths in a recent attack by the Mobondo militia. The conflict has killed at least 300 people between June 2022 and March 2023, overshadowed by other larger-scale conflicts in the region. (Update 8/15 17 people killed source:

Key Actors:

  • Mobondo Militia: Armed group responsible for recent attacks and kidnappings, predominantly consisting of Yaka members.
  • Teke Community: Historical inhabitants of the region, involved in disputes over land and taxes.
  • Yaka Community: More recent settlers, involved in disputes with the Teke community.
  • Provincial Government: Responding to restore security and maintain control over the area.
  • Regional Civil Society Organizations: Advocating for community dialogue and peaceful resolution.


  • June 2022: Tensions flared over land rights and customary taxes.
  • June 2022 - March 2023: Cycle of violence that has killed at least 300 people.
  • Recent: Arrest of a leader of the Yaka-majority Mobondo militia.
  • Aug. 11, 2023: Mobondo militia attacked civilians in Ipongi, killing at least 10, kidnapping an unknown number, and burning several houses.

Root Causes:

  • Ethnic Tensions: Historical grievances between the Teke and Yaka communities.
  • Land Rights Disputes: Disagreements over access to farming land.
  • Taxation Issues: Conflict over tax increases and customary practices.

Current Dynamics:

  • Escalating Violence: Increasing attacks and retaliation between communities.
  • Government Response: Deployment of defense and security forces to restore order.
  • Calls for Dialogue: Advocacy for community dialogue with the Mobondo militia to ease tensions.


  • Loss of Life: Hundreds of deaths and widespread fear and trauma.
  • Displacement: Unknown numbers of displaced individuals.
  • Destruction of Property: Burned houses and damage to infrastructure.
  • Economic Disruption: Potential hindrance to farming and local economy.

Mitigation Measures:

  • Immediate Ceasefire: Establishment of an immediate ceasefire between warring factions.
  • Community Dialogue: Facilitation of dialogue between Teke, Yaka, and the Mobondo militia to address underlying grievances.
  • Security Measures: Enhanced security measures to protect civilians.
  • Legal Actions: Legal actions against perpetrators to ensure accountability.
  • Support from International Community: International assistance in mediation and peacebuilding efforts.