Relations between the numerous Baluba tribe, the majority in parts of northwest Kammebalango, and the Matangan Unification Front, have grown steadily worse since independence. Many Balubas are pro-government, while the Matangans are steadfastly anti-government. The disagreement broke into open fighting when a Matangan force attacked a Baluba ranch not far from the village of Basankusu. Local officials speculate that the Matangans were raiding the Balubas to steal cattle to feed their growing forces.
"The Matangans did not get away with a single head of our precious cattle," Michele Defamzu proclaimed the day after the battle. "Let the mushroom eaters fill their bellies with their foul fungus -- they still die by the bullet!" Defamzu alluded to the rumor that fighters loyal to the front were known to ingest hallucinogenic mushrooms prior to battle in the belief it will protect them from enemy guns. Defamzu admitted that many Baluba militiamen were slain in the attack, and vowed revenge.
A spokesmen for the Matangans said that their forces drove the Baluba militia from the ranch in disarray. We seized their ranch offices and all their money and equipment. "We did not want their diseased, scrawny cattle. The Balubas can hunker down and hide behind their herds if they wish, but it will not protect them from us!"
Ranch workers said that a Matangan squad in a truck sped quickly to the ranch offices and overran them before guards could prevent it. They said that the stout walls of the two storey building made it into too powerful of a strongpoint, and the Baluba militia had to fall back. The workers confirmed that the guards held firm to a patch of jungle that overlooked the cattle pen, preventing the Matangans from making off with the herd.
Relations have steadily worsened between the two tribes following the attack, and all out warfare for control of northwest Kammebalango is likely to happen soon.