Militia Attack Claims 45 Lives in Ituri


Ituri province in eastern DR Congo was struck by a devastating attack, resulting in the deaths of 45 people and leaving a dozen others wounded, as reported by the United Nations mission in the country (MONUSCO).

The assault occurred during the night of Sunday, June 11, in Djugu territory, approximately 75 kilometers from Bunia.

The victims were targeted within a camp for displaced individuals, exposing the vulnerability of those affected by the ongoing conflict.

Identifying the militiamen behind the atrocity, MONUSCO attributed the massacre to the Coopérative pour le Développement du Congo (CODECO).

In an official statement, the UN mission called on Congolese authorities to launch a thorough investigation and ensure that the perpetrators face justice for their actions.

Expressing grave concern, MONUSCO stated that the attack constituted a severe violation of international humanitarian law.

Furthermore, they issued a warning to militias, stating that similar assaults could potentially be classified as war crimes.

This recent CODECO attack follows a previous incident carried out by suspected members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia. In that attack, at least 12 individuals lost their lives in the Beni territory of North Kivu province. ADF, an Islamist group originating from Uganda, has been active in Ituri and North Kivu since the late 1990s and is widely regarded as one of the most notorious militias in the region.

The situation in Djugu is dire, with approximately 70,000 displaced individuals currently seeking refuge there, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

The agency also reported that between May 15 and 19, at least 32 civilians were killed in various territories across Ituri.

In the first two weeks of April, up to 150 civilians fell victim to violence perpetrated by different armed groups in the region, according to UNOCHA.

Eastern DR Congo has been ravaged by violence for nearly three decades, with close to 120 local and foreign armed groups implicated in numerous human rights abuses and atrocities.

Despite multiple interventions by international and regional actors, normalcy remains elusive in this restive part of the country.