Machete-wielding militia massacre 20 civilians in northeast DRC
CAPE TOWN - Twenty civilians have been killed by a group armed with machetes, guns and knives during a raid on a village in northeast Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The increasing violence and unrest in the country has forced 200,000 people from their homes in two months, according to broadcaster, Al Jazeera.
Fighters from the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (Codeco) militia, which is made up of fighters from the Lendu ethnic group, attacked Hema village in Ituri province at about 1am on Sunday, the army and local authorities said.
"They cut with the machetes several of my compatriots, 20 have already died and more than 14 are seriously injured. It's unbearable to see people die like that,” a local administrator, Solo Bukutupa, told the news network.
The attackers fled after United Nations (UN) peacekeepers arrived at the village. The militia later opened fire on a nearby UN base, a UN source said.
Women and children were among the victims. Another local official said that 22 people were killed.
“The victims are of all ages, children, youths, women and old men, killed by machete, by knife or by firearm," Pilo Mulindro, a tribal chief said.
Fighting by an array of armed groups in the region has complicated the DRC's response to the coronavirus pandemic and an Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 2,200 people since 2018.
Codeco split into several competing factions after the Congolese army killed its leader Justin Ngudjolo in late March.
Earlier this month, Ngabu Ngawi Olivier, who claimed to have taken over the leadership of Codeco, surrendered to the military and called for the militia to lay down its weapons.
Another faction later issued a statement denouncing Olivier as an impostor. No fighters have followed Olivier's orders yet, said army spokesman Jules Ngongo.
African News Agency