Militia kills 24 people in northeastern DR Congo
Militia fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo killed 24 people and injured 12 others, local officials said Saturday, the latest attack in the restive northeastern province of Ituri.
The killings took place late Friday in a region where some 700 people have died since a surge in intercommunal violence in 2017.
Dozens of militia groups are active in eastern DR Congo, a legacy of the two Congo wars in the 1990s that dragged in its neighbours Uganda and Rwanda.
Friday’s latest massacre was attributed to a militia active in northern Ituri, bordering Uganda and South Sudan, known as Cooperative for the Development of Congo, or CODECO by its French initials.
“A total of 24 people were killed by gunshots” by militiamen from CODECO, said local administrative official Innocent Madukadala in the Djugu territory.
Alfred Alingi, another local administrator in Djugu, confirmed details of the attack.
The assailants were dressed in military uniforms and “were shooting civilians in their way,” he said.
CODECO is a militia tied to the Lendu ethnic group.
The Ituri region has returned to violence since the end of 2017, mainly in its northern part.
Conflict between two ethnic groups from 1999 to 2003 caused tens of thousands of deaths there, ending only with the dispatch of a European force — the first rapid-reaction military mission by the European Union outside Europe.
The conflict erupted between the Lendu, mainly farmers, and the Hema, herders, and traders, in the gold-mining and oil-rich province.
The government on Friday signed a peace deal with another local armed group, the FRPI (Patriotic Resistance Forces in Ituri), who have been active in the area for two decades.