Ethnic militia killed 18 civilians in DR Congo

People internally displaced because of the ongoing civil conflict in DR Congo so far in 2020 People internally displaced because of the ongoing civil conflict in DR Congo so far in 2020 AFP

10 March 2022

Eighteen civilians in eastern DR Congo were killed by an armed group that claims to represent the interests of the Lendu ethnic group

For several years an ethnic conflict in Congo forced the people of the Ituri province and neighboring North Kivu to live in violence and fear. The Lendu and Hema communities have a long-standing feud that started in 1999 and led to thousands of deaths before the 2003 intervention by European peacekeeping forces.

The two provinces of eastern DR Congo are roamed by several armed groups, many of which are a legacy of two regional wars that caused more than 5 million victims at the end of the 1990s. In 2017, hostilities resumed after the emergence of CODECO (the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo). CODECO is a political and religious sect demanding Lendu ethnic group dominance.

Around 5:30 am on 8 March, in the village of Kilo, in the Ituri province, CODECO attacked a church building where around 1,000 displaced people had taken shelter and had fled from another massacre in the nearby village of Matongo.

“They started to fire their weapons and we holed up in the house. They entered one of the apartments where displaced people were sleeping…after they left, we found 12 bodies”, declared an official in the Catholic church. Then, he reported that they killed another four people and fatally wounded two othersThese areas of DR Congo are deeply troubled provinces that were placed under a “state of siege” last May. Furthermore, on 16 February, CODECO detained eight people, including a general, who had been sent by the President Felix Tshisekedi to try to negotiate a peace deal. According to the Danish Refugee Council, CODECO attacks have already caused hundreds of deaths and led more than 1.5 million people to flee their homes, while half of the region’s population faces food insecurity.


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Author: Francesca Geuna; Editor: Vito Quaglia

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