At least 20 civilians were murdered and 17 wounded in a suspected militia attack. in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri province.
Local authorities accused the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO)- an ethnic-religious militia – for the massacre, one of dozens of armed groups spread across the conflict-wracked country.
CODECO claims to defend the interests of its community, the Lendu, mainly farmers. Indeed, the majority of the victims were members of the Hema community , mainly farmers and traders.
The attack takes took in Djugu territory, where the villages and lands of the two communities are intertwined. Djugu’s territory covers about 8,000 km 2 .
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) at least 274 people have been killed and 200,000 others have fled the violence since the start of the year.
“We have been able to confirm crimes against humanity, ” said High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who visited Ituri on January 23.