At least 15 people have died in separate attacks by armed groups in DR Congo’s troubled northeastern province of Ituri, local sources and monitors said on Monday.
A militia group called CODECO on Sunday ransacked the village of Mabanga in Djugu territory, “killing six people, including four women,” Ngandjole Assani, a representative of local grassroots groups, told AFP.
“There were no (Congolese army) troops around,” Assani said.
In Irumu territory farther south, members of CODECO and a group called the Patriotic and Integrationist Force of the Congo (FPIC) on Sunday attacked the village of Kokonyangi, a local chief said.
“Eleven bodies were found and 10 other civilians were injured,” said Jonas Lemi Zorabo, a traditional leader in the Babao-Bokoe area.
A US-headquartered monitoring group, the Kivu Security Tracker, said nine people died in Kokonyangi.
The armed forces in Ituri confirmed the attacks but did not provide further details.
CODECO — the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (CODECO) — claims to defend the Lendu ethnic group, which has a long history of blood feuds with the Hema community.
Fighting between the two communities flared between 1999 and 2003, claiming tens of thousands of lives before being quelled by a European Union peacekeeping force, Artemis.
Violence then resumed in 2017, blamed on the emergence of CODECO.
Ituri and neighbouring North Kivu province have been under a “state of siege” since May — a measure aimed at speeding the response to armed groups by replacing senior civilian officers with officers from the security forces.
More than 120 armed groups roam eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, many of them the legacy of full-scale wars that flared in the 1990s.
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He made the comment while speaking in Abeokuta at a leadership and entrpreneurship mentoring session with selected school students.