BSS
  22 Jun 2024, 15:42

DR Congo militia kills more than 20 in village raid: sources

BUNIA, DR Congo, June 22, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Militia fighters on Friday killed ore than 20 civilians in a village in the gold-rich Ituri province in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo, local sources said.

The sources blamed the Cooperative for the development of Congo (Codeco) militia for the killings. Codeco claims to be fighting for the interests of the Lendu tribe against the rival Hema tribe.

"Codeco militias attacked the village of Lodjo on Thursday, where they killed eight civilians. They came back on Friday, the current death toll is 36," Innocent Matukadala, head of the Banyali Kilo administrative centre, that takes in Lodjo, told AFP.

He said the Congolese army "arrived too late" to prevent the massacre. "The population is in disarray," he added.

"For now, there are 28 dead (on Friday) and a massive displacement of the population," said a civil society leader on condition of anonymity.

Other sources put the number of dead at 23. One said the dead included gold miners, women and children.

Dozens of civilians have been killed in Codeco attacks on villages in the province since the beginning of this year.

Inter-communal violence killed thousands in Ituri from 1999-2003 until an intervention by European forces restored calm.

The conflict erupted again in 2017, resulting in thousands more deaths and the mass displacement of local people.

The southern part of Ituri has also suffered from the inter-communal violence spilling over from neighbouring North Kivu province, which has been ravaged by attacks blamed on rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces group, affiliated with Islamic State.

The ADF, originally mainly Muslim Ugandan rebels, have established a presence over the past three decades in eastern DR Congo, killing thousands of civilians.

 

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