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At least 46 killed in DRC displacement camp attack

Most of the victims burned to death after fire was set to their houses while others were shot or hacked with machetes   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

CODECO, a militia group involved in numerous ethnic killings in northeast DR Congo attacked the Lala camp in the Djugu territory of Ituri province overnight Sunday to Monday, a local government official announced.

At least 46 people, half of them children, were killed in a militia attack on a camp for displaced people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, security analysts and a local community leader said Monday.

A militia group involved in numerous ethnic killings in the area attacked the camp in northeastern Ituri province overnight Sunday to Monday, Richard Dheda, an official of the local administration for Bahema Badjere in Djugu territory, announced.

The Kivu Security Tracker (KST), a network of observers based in DRC's restive east, counted "at least 46" dead in the Lala camp.

A community leader, Desire Malodra gave the same death toll of 46, adding that 23 of them were children.

He added that the toll was still provisional as "the search continues" for victims.

Earlier, Dheda said there had been 41 victims, while a military source said at least 22 had been killed.

The CODECO militia, or Cooperative for the Development of the Congo, claims to protect the Lendu community from another ethnic group, the Hema, as well as the DR Congo army.

"They began to fire shots, many people were burned to death in their homes, others were killed by machete," Malodra said.

The Lala camp for displaced people is five kilometres (three miles) from Bule, the site of a UN peacekeeper base.

Ituri province is one of eastern DR Congo's violence hotspots, where attacks claiming dozens of lives are common.

CODECO militiamen attacked an army position in the Djukoth area of Ituri province's Mahagi territory late on Saturday, killing seven civilians.

After a decade of calm, the conflict between the Hema and Lendu communities rekindled in 2017, resulting in thousands of deaths and forcing more than 1.5 million people from their homes.

Much of eastern DR Congo is plagued by dozens of armed groups, a legacy of regional wars that flared in the 1990s and 2000s.

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