At least 15 people were killed Sunday in two separate attacks by militia groups in Ituri, a province under siege in the north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), local sources said on Monday.
In the locality of Mabanga, in the territory of Djugu, militiamen “burned houses, looted shops and killed six people, including four women,“ Ngandjole Assani, a local civil society leader, told AFP.
Mr. Assani accused militiamen from the armed group Cooperative for the Development of Congo (Codeco) of being the behind the killing: “When these Codeco militiamen entered here in Mabanga, there were no FARDC soldiers”, he said.
Jonas Lemi Zorabo, traditional chief of the Babao-Bokoe area, where Kokonyangi/Mumu is located, told AFP that “eleven bodies were discovered… ” with ten others sustaining various degrees of injuries”.
Researchers from the Kivu Security Barometer (KST), present in the area, reported “nine dead in Kokonyangi/Mumu”.
The FARDC spokesperson in Ituri confirmed these two attacks but did not wish to give further details.
Codeco is an armed group structured around a religious sect in Ituri, where it claims to defend members of the Lendu tribe against the DRC army and the Hema tribe. The group is accused of being behind the violence that has been engulfing this gold-rich region since late 2017, after a 20-year lull.
this violence gained momentum in 2019, with structured and well-armed community factions, including the FPIC.
The provinces of Ituri and North Kivu have been under a state of siege since May, an exceptional measure giving full power to the military.
But neither this measure nor the ongoing military operations have so far been able to put an end to the violence.
In the province of North Kivu, neighbouring Ituri, the angry population blocked a major road for several hours on Monday, after a “mother and son were killed” in their home in the locality of Oicha “on Sunday night by soldiers”, Nicolas Kikuku, mayor of the town, told AFP, without giving further details on the circumstances of the drama.