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Death toll in bombings at displacement camps in eastern Congo rises to at least 35

GOMA, Congo — The death toll in the bombings of two camps for displaced people in eastern Congo last week rose to at least 35 Friday, with an additional two in very critical condition, a local official told The Associated Press.

Éric Bwanapuwa, a lawmaker who represents Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu state, where the attacks took place, provided the updated figure in an interview Friday.

The Congolese army and a rebel group known as M23 have blamed each other for the bombings at the Mugunga and Lac Vert displacement camps in eastern Congo.

The U.S. State Department accused M23 and the army of neighboring Rwanda.

M23, which is short for the March 23 Movement, is an armed group mainly made up of ethnic Tutsis that broke away from the Congolese army 12 years ago.

Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi accuses neighboring Rwanda of destabilizing Congo by backing the M23 rebels. U.N. experts, along with the U.S. State Department, have also accused Rwanda of backing the rebels. Rwanda denies the claims.

The decades-long conflict in eastern Congo has produced one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with over 100 armed groups fighting in the region, most for land and control of mines with valuable minerals. Some are fighting to try to protect their communities.

Many groups are accused of carrying out mass killings, rapes and other human rights violations.

The violence has displaced about 7 million people, including thousands living in temporary camps like the ones attacked last week. Many others are beyond the reach of aid.

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