DRC: more than twenty civilians killed in Ituri

DRC: more than twenty civilians killed in Ituri

More than twenty people were killed Friday by militiamen in Ituri, a gold-rich province in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, we learned from local sources.

These sources attribute this new killing to the armed group Codeco (Cooperative for the Development of Congo), a militia claiming to defend the interests of the Lendu tribe against a rival tribe, the Hema.

“Codeco militiamen attacked the village of Lodjo on Thursday (in the territory of Djugu), where they killed eight civilians. They returned this Friday. The death toll currently stands at 36,” declared to AFP in the evening Innocent Matukadala, head of the sector (administrative entity) of Banyali Kilo, where the attacked village is located.

According to him, the Congolese army is “arrived too late” to prevent this massacre. “The population is in disarray,” he added.

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“For the moment, there are 28 deaths and a massive displacement of the population,” said a civil society official, on condition of anonymity.

Another put the death toll at 23, “including gold miners, women and children“. A source close to the security services also mentioned this death toll of 23, stressing that it was ” provisional “.

Since the start of the year, dozens of civilians have been killed by Codeco in attacks on villages in Ituri.

A conflict between community militias had already caused thousands of deaths between 1999 and 2003 in this province, until the intervention of a European force under French command, Operation Artémis.

The conflict resumed at the end of 2017, once again causing the deaths of thousands of civilians and massive population displacements.

In addition to this conflict with community connotations, Ituri is prey in its southern part to violence attributed to the ADF (“Allied Democratic Forces”), a group affiliated with the jihadist organization Islamic State, which is also raging in the north of the neighboring province of North Kivu.

The ADF, of Ugandan origin, have been established since the 1990s in eastern DRC, where they are accused of having killed thousands of civilians.