Militia Attack In DRC: Over 45 Civilians Killed
The United Nation’s peacekeeping mission has reported that more than 45 civilians tragically lost their lives during a militia attack on a camp for displaced persons in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri province on Monday.
The UN’s peacekeeping mission blamed the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (CODECO) group, a militia group that has been terrorizing residents in Ituri province.
The conflict-ridden eastern region harbors numerous militias, and CODECO is among them. The group purportedly advocates for the rights and welfare of Lendu farmers, who have been engaged in longstanding conflicts with Hema herders.
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The actions of CODECO’s fighters have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians in Ituri province, forcing thousands to abandon their homes, according to reports from the United Nations.
According to MONUSCO, the recent attack resulted in the tragic loss of over 45 lives, while at least 10 people sustained injuries. In response, the United Nations has collaborated with provincial authorities to enhance security measures in the affected area.
The U.N refugee agency reported that the perpetrators, armed assailants, ruthlessly targeted and killed men, women, and children using firearms and machetes. At least 12 victims were mercilessly burned alive as their shelters were set ablaze.
Ituri army spokesperson, Jules Ngongo Tshikudi, condemned the attack as an act of sabotage against ongoing peace restoration efforts as investigations into the incidents commenced.
Bahema Badjere district chief, Jean Richard Lenga, revealed the horrific details, stating that the armed militiamen massacred 45 people using knives and firearms before callously setting fire to their homes within the camp, claiming additional lives.
“The whole village is in mourning now,” he said. “The authorities are still searching for more bodies.”
A significant number of civilians have sought refuge in the nearby town of Bule, Lenga confirmed.
Approximately 70,000 displaced people have arrived in Bule between April 15 and May 15, as reported by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). This influx of people adds to the already staggering figure of 1.7 million internally displaced people residing in Ituri province.
Civil rights group leader Charite Banza pointed out that the attack took place shortly after a dialogue between armed groups in Ituri. The timing of this event raises questions and highlights the complexity of the situation in the region.
“We don’t have security here, we say it every day,” Banza said. “The victims’ bodies would be buried in a mass grave.”
CODECO has gained notoriety for its recurrent targeting of displacement camps. Last year, in one of its most brutal acts, the group perpetrated one of its deadliest massacres, claiming the lives of approximately 60 people at another camp situated close to Bule.