A soldier in northeastern Congo opened fire on family members and others who had buried his son before he could arrive home to attend the ceremony, killing 13 people, including 10 children, officials said Sunday.
The attack late Saturday left the soldier’s wife, in-laws and two of his children dead, before he turned his weapon on other civilians, said Lt. Jules Ngongo, a spokesman for the army in Ituri province, where the killings took place.
The soldier was not identified.
The soldier arrived home from his post at another village in the province to find family and community members gathered in mourning for his son, who died Thursday of natural causes, said Baraka Muguwa Oscar, the local village chief.
“This soldier did not like the fact that his son … was buried without his approval and in his absence,” Oscar said.
Elements of the Congolese army were dispatched to apprehend the soldier, a member of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, or FARDC, who fled the scene after the attack.
“No matter what the case, the time or the circumstances, you can’t take a person’s life. This is an act of indiscipline that will be dealt with by the courts,” said Ngongo, the army spokesperson.
Fighting in eastern Congo has been simmering for decades as more than 120 groups fight for power, land and valuable mineral resources, while others try to defend their communities. Earlier this week, the United Nations warned of a surge in violence in the country’s northeast.