'I had to carry my mother's decapitated head 60km': Orphan tells ITV News of atrocities in Democratic Republic of Congo

A young woman has told ITV News how she was forced to carry her mother's decapitated head 60 kilometres after militias in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) killed her family.

She and her two sisters, along with their parents and brothers, were captured in the Kasai region by one of the armed groups that - alongside government forces they are fighting - is blamed for countless atrocities.

The eldest of the orphaned sisters recalled how she was hiding but sneaked out to see the appalling fate of her mother and brothers.

She told ITV News Africa Correspondent John Ray: "We were captured by the militia. They took us to our house, together with my family.

"They had already killed my father. Then I saw my two brothers decapitated. Then my mother.

"They made me carry her head to the village where they had their base. It was 60 kilometres."

The three sisters were spared, but their trauma was far from over.

The eldest said: "I didn't have the desire to live anymore. I wanted to die."

The girls are hiding in a safe house as the war has intensified ethnic and tribal hatred.

One and half million people in the region have been forced from their homes and farms.

The country in the heart of Africa has been declared a "Level 3" crisis – on a par with the humanitarian disasters in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

  • The DRC's decades of conflict explained