Civilians killed in violence in DRC

Camps such as this one have been built in DRC to house displaced civilians Camps such as this one have been built in DRC to house displaced civilians Alexis Huguet/MSF

22 June 2020

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has seen a rise in civilian violence since March

An armed group in the Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo killed six people, including two children, during an overnight raid last week. The group, which is thought to be an ethnic Lendu-led militia, stormed the village of Loda on 17 June 2020. The militia was armed with guns and machetes while they raided and looted houses in the village. Nearly 40 houses were burned down during the attack. The victims were all part of the ethnic Hema population.

Violence in the Ituri province erupted in March 2020 after a Congolese military operation resulted in the death of Justin Ngudjolo, the leader of the Lendu-led Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO). Since then, Lendu-led militias have killed 444 civilians and displaced over 200,000 civilians. In addition to the armed group, the Congolese army has also been accused of carrying out extrajudicial executions and other abuses of power. 

Previously, the United Nations’s human rights office in Congo said that the acts of violence targeting the Hema community could be investigated as crimes against humanity. On 4 June, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court made a statement regarding the concern of an “escalation in serious violence” in the Ituri province. The Congolese army has been called upon to properly investigate such crimes. Human Rights Watch called for a long term solution requiring state institutions to prosecute the groups responsible for the violent abuses.


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Author: Vito Quaglia

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