Dozens, if not a hundred people were killed during the night of Sunday 21 to Monday 22 November in attacks on villages and a site of displaced people in Ituri, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). . A senior military source who requested anonymity told AFP that the attacks in Djugu territory had caused “Dozens of deaths”, experts from the Kivu Security Barometer (KST), for their part, “At least 107” the number of bodies found.
“The vast majority of the dead are civilians”, said the KST, adding that the attacks were carried out by militiamen from the Coopérative pour le développement du Congo (Codeco), a group made up of members of the Lendu community. Members of the rival community, the Hema, were in the majority in the camp for displaced persons in the village of Drodro, the same source told AFP. “The enemy went so far as to burn down a camp for displaced people. This constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity ”, lamented Lieutenant Jules Ngongo, army spokesman in Ituri.
A source from the UN mission in the DRC, Monusco, told AFP that 16,000 displaced people from Drodro camp as well as villagers fleeing the violence were taken to a nearby displaced persons camp in Roe, near a temporary peacekeeper base, where another 21,000 displaced people are already accommodated.
The Codeco armed group claims to defend the interests of the Lendu community in Ituri, a gold province marked by strong antagonisms between ethnic groups. This group split into several rival factions. It was with the advent of this militia at the end of 2017 that the province plunged back into a cycle of violence. Ituri and the neighboring province of North Kivu have been placed under a state of siege since May 6, an exceptional measure to fight against armed groups. Civilian authorities have been replaced by army and police officers.
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