42,000 (1987 UBS). 2,100 monolinguals.
Orientale province: Tshopo district, Bafwasende territory, Tshopo river south to Ituri river north, and Ituri river north bank.
Bafwandaka, Bakundumu, Bekeni, Bemili. The Bemili dialect is central linguistically and geographically. Lexical similarity: 52% with Lika [lik]; 40%–45% with Bwa [bww] and Pagibete [pae]; 46% with Komo [kmw]; 40% with Bhele [bhy], Bila [bip], and Bera [brf]; 30% with Budu [buu] and Ndaka [ndk]; 25% with Lega languages and Lingala [lin].
SVO; prepositions, genitives before nouns; articles, adjectives, numerals, relatives after nouns; question word sentence final; 1–3 prefixes; 1–5 suffixes; word order distinguishes role; affixes mark person, number of subject and object in one noun group; active, passive, reflexive; 2 causatives; aspect; comparatives; tonal, 3 tones; stress; 9 vowels.
Congo Swahili [swc] is spoken by leaders, nearly all youth and men (proficiency in certain domains), most women and older men (less fluently), many older women and young children (low proficiency). French [fra] is spoken by the less than 5% with secondary school education. Lingala [lin] is used mainly by those who travel or have been in military service. Used as L2 by Kango [kzy].
‘Kibali’ is the official name.