42,000 (1987 UBS). 5%–10% monolingual.
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 used by leaders, nearly all youth and men, most women and older men (less fluently), many older women and young children (low proficiency). Lingala [lin] is used mainly by those who travel or have been in military service. French [fra] is used by the less than 5% with secondary school education.
‘Kibali’ is the official name.