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DRC: 15 dead in Ituri, more than 300 since December according to the UN

DRC: 15 dead in Ituri, more than 300 since December according to the UN
Coffins at the burial of 62 displaced people massacred on the night of 1 February 2022...   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

About fifteen people have been killed in the past two days by two armed groups in Ituri, a province in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where, according to the UN, more than 300 civilians have been massacred since the beginning of December.

The community militia CODECO ( Cooperative for the Development of Congo ) is accused of having attacked the village of Drodro, in the territory of Djugu, on Wednesday. The militiamen killed six people there and injured several others with machetes, including a hospital laboratory worker, said Charité Banza, president of the civil society of the chiefdom (grouping of villages) of Bahema Nord.

According to him, CODECO militiamen also killed three other people on Thursday in the village of Ng'le, about thirty km away, in the same territory. "Which kills nine people in two days" in Ituri, he lamented.

The CODECO is a militia of several thousand men which claims to protect the Lendu tribe against a rival tribe, the Hema, defended by another militia, the "Zaire".

In addition, in the Irumu territory of the same province, six civilians were killed Thursday in the Basili chiefdom, according to a humanitarian source. This time, it is the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) rebels, affiliated with the jihadist group Islamic State, who are accused.

Last Saturday, more than thirty people, including many women and children, were massacred in several villages in Ituri. The CODECO militiamen were accused of this killing.

Since the end of last year, there have been dozens of deaths almost every week in Ituri.

"Too much is too much, there has been too much blood, too much suffering," said Tuesday in Bunia, the provincial capital, Karna Soro, head of the Ituri office of MONUSCO (mission of the UN in the DRC). “Between December 1 and today, we are at 310 dead, including 60 children,” he said, during a “Hema intra-community dialogue”.

After a decade of lull, the deadly conflict in the gold-rich province between Hema and Lendu resumed in late 2017, causing more than 1.5 million people to flee and thousands of civilians to die. The previous conflict between community militias caused thousands of deaths between 1999 and 2003, until the intervention of a European force, Operation Artemis, under French command.

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