Militia kills 15 in eastern DR Congo: local sources

Published Feb 19, 2024


Militia fighters killed 15 people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo's troubled Ituri province, local sources said on Sunday, in the second such attack in less than a week.

The sources said the CODECO (Cooperative for the Development of the Congo) militia, which claims to defend the interests of the Lendu group, again targeted victims from the rival Hema tribe.

CODECO fighters ambushed users of a road near the village of Tali where they stopped 15 people including one woman on Saturday afternoon, said Jules Tsuba, leader of Djugu territory's civil society.

The militiamen tied them up and undressed them before killing them, some victims "had their throats cut, others were shot dead", he said.

According to a humanitarian source, "the bodies of the victims bear the marks of torture."

Ruphin Mapela, the territory's administrator, confirmed the toll of 15 dead and said the attack came after months of peace.

CODECO was among several Congolese armed groups that signed a peace deal last year after negotiations in Nairobi.

Tsuba said he wanted the government to "accelerate the peace process" through a programme of disarmament and reintegration of militia fighters into their communities.

On Tuesday, a suspected CODECO attack left seven panners dead on mining sites in Djugu territory.

Gold-rich Ituri suffered a conflict between ethnic-based militias from 1999 to 2003 that left thousands dead before the intervention of a European force.

Fighting flared again in 2017, killing thousands of civilians and triggering mass displacement.