Incident Summary:

12/16/2018: Assailants attacked Banunu tribe residents and destroyed buildings in Bongende, Bandundu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. At least 339 people were killed in the assault, which lasted until December 18, 2018. This was one of four coordinated incidents in different villages in the area on the same day. At least 111 people were injured across the four events. In addition, several of the victims were behaded or sexually assaulted; it is unknown if any hostages were taken and held by the assailants beyond 24 hours. No group claimed responsibility; however, sources attributed the attacks to Batende tribal members and posited that the incidents were related to conflicts over resources and monthly tribal duties.



Democratic Republic of the Congo

Sub-Saharan Africa

region/u.s. state:



Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Type of Attack (more) Hostage Taking (Kidnapping)
Type of Attack (more) Facility/Infrastructure Attack
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Private Citizens & Property
Name of Entity Bongende Village
Specific Description Village of Banunu Tribal Members
Nationality of Target Democratic Republic of the Congo
Additional Information
Hostages Yes
Number of Hostages Unknown
US Hostages 0
Outcome Combination
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Unknown
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Automatic Weapon
Incendiary Gasoline or Alcohol
Melee Knife or Other Sharp Object
Weapon Details
Assault rifles, hunting rifles, gasoline, machetes, and bows and arrows were used in the attack.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?Yes
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) Yes
Alternate Designation (more) State Actors
Additional Information There is doubt that this incident meets terrorism-related criteria. A source suspected that elements of the military may have taken part in the incident. Another source stated that the attack "had support from local authorities and elements within the security forces." Casualty numbers represent a division of the total number of those wounded across incidents 201812160027, 201812160028, 201812160029, and 201812160030.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Tribesmen No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 339 Fatalities / 28 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 339
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 28
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
"Revealed: DR Congo’s ‘invisible’ massacre," Daily Times, February 9, 2019.