20 Civilians Killed in Northeast Democratic Republic of Congo

Army patrolling a village in Ituri region after the killing of 20 civilians Army patrolling a village in Ituri region after the killing of 20 civilians Samir Tounsi/AFP

17 May 2020

Ethnic clashes lead to the death of at least 20 civilians in the Ituri region, DR Congo

Violence spreads in the northeast Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and it becomes severe each day.

Even ethnic differences can turn sometimes into a threat that can lead to violence and destruction of human being.

Local authorities informed that last Sunday, at least 20 civilians were brutally killed. The raid took place in Hema village, in Ituri province (northeast of the country) and the Lendu ethnic group belonging to the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (CODECO) militia are responsible for this attack. This violence is the latest incident in a surge of ethnic violence that has forced 200,000 people to flee their homes in two months. Pilo Mulindro, a tribal chief, reported to AFP news agency that victims are of all ages and all of them have been killed brutally by machete, knife or firearm. CODESCO members are above all farmers and they clash often with the Hema community in Ituri, who are traders and herders. The worst fights took place between 1999 and 2007 and after a period of relative calm, the clashes blew up again in 2017.

As it happens in many poor countries where violence is ordinary, it becomes hard to fight the coronavirus because the government cannot focus on the pandemic only, but also has to deal with violent attacks. In addition, the DRC is threatened by the Ebola epidemic.

Death is not an extraordinary fact within the country. Tens of thousands of people were killed in the region between 1999 and 2003 and most victims were targeted because they were Hema. Also, according to the United Nation (UN), some deaths might be considered as a “crime against humanity”.


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Author: Giulia Francescon; Editor: Shrabya Ghimire

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