Militia Executes 17 Hostages in Eastern DR Congo

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A militia group in eastern DR Congo, known as CODECO, executed 17 hostages on Sunday after capturing them the previous day, according to local sources.

The incident occurred in Djugu territory, located about 45 kilometreres north of Bunia in Ituri province, where the CODECO insurgents killed at least 17 people.

Local community leader, Banguneni Gbalande, confirmed the incident to AFP, saying, “The hostages are dead, they have been executed by the CODECO militia.”

The attack was carried out after three CODECO members were killed in a clash with a rival militia, and the hostages included a pregnant woman.

CODECO, which stands for Cooperative for the Development of the Congo, is one of the many armed groups operating in the volatile mineral-rich region.

The group claims to protect the Lendu community from the Hema ethnic group and the army.

Recently, CODECO fighters have been held responsible for a series of massacres in Ituri province, killing 30 people, including women and children. Dozens of people have been killed in the gold-rich region every week since the end of 2022.

Eastern Congo has been affected by violence for decades, with dozens of armed groups causing unrest in the area. Many of these groups are remnants of regional wars that occurred in the 1990s and 2000s.

Ituri province has become a hotspot for violence, with attacks that claim many lives being a routine occurrence.