Eastern DR Congo: new militia attacks kill at least 15 civilians

Child surrounded by houses in a village Child surrounded by houses in a village Annie Spratt on Unsplash

18 January 2022

The humanitarian situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo deteriorates as violence against civilians resumes

The Ituri province in North-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continues to experience terror and violence, as militias started massacring civilians in the region again. A militia called CODECO (Cooperative for the Development of Congo) began launching armed attacks on civilians already on 12 November 2021, and the situation has been deteriorating since then. Recently, local sources have accused CODECO of launching separate attacks on civilians in the Ituri province on 16 January 2022. The attacks occurred in the village of Mabanga in Djugu territory. Six people died as a consequence of the attacks, including four women – as reported by Ngandjole Assani, a representative of local civil society groups.

The attacks of Sunday 16 January were perpetrated also in the Irumu territory, further south. CODECO and another armed group called the Patriotic and Integrationist Force of the Congo (FPIC) have also attacked the village of Kokonyangi, a local chief reported. In Kokonyangi eleven people were found dead, whereas ten other civilians were injured. According to local communities, there were no DRC armed forces protecting civilians when the massacres occurred. 

To date, there are around 120 militias spread all around Eastern DRC, and it is likely that attacks on civilians will continue. In May 2021 the DRC’s President, Felix Tshisekedi, declared a state of emergency in the Ituri province and neighbouring North Kivu. While the measure was aimed at addressing the violence spread by militias by replacing civilian officers with security forces officers, it seems that in practice not so much has changed yet. On the contrary, it is of concern that Tshisekedi has promoted many figures labelled by the UN as ‘red generals’, some of whom are under international sanctions for human rights violations. 


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Author: Lorena Bisignano; Editor: Tiago Cotogni

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