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At least 30 civilians killed by militiamen in Congo, mostly IDPs

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The UN’s mission in DR Congo says at least 16,000 people have fled the violence in Congo. (File Photo)

About 30 civilians have been killed by militiamen in the Democratic Republic of Congo between November 21 and 22 in attacks on villages and a site hosting internally displaced people.

According to a report by AFP on Monday, quoting anonymous military sources, the attacks in the northeastern province of Ituri resulted in “dozens of deaths.”

A military spokesperson from the eastern province of Ituri, Jules Ngongo, was quoted as saying that fighters from the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) militia targeted the village of Drodro, killing at least six children.

“Their objective was to attack the population that was displaced in Drodro,” he said.

Africa News quoted locals as saying that the CODECO militia targeted a site hosting internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Drodro and part of the village’s parish, setting ablaze several shelters as military teams were slow to respond.

The UN’s mission in DR Congo said at least 16,000 people have fled the violence, taking shelter in a nearby peacekeepers’ camp in Roe, where almost 21,000 people are already putting up.  

Ngongo slammed the attack, calling it “a crime against humanity”, adding that the “enemy went so far as to burn down a camp for the displaced."

The Kivu Security Tracker (KST), which maps violence in Congo, confirmed at least 29 deaths after initially reporting 107 fatalities. It also blamed the attack on the armed CODECO militia group, drawn mainly from the Lendu ethnic group.

Since May, the two eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri have been under a state of siege and martial law in an attempt to curb violence by the militia groups, who have been carrying out deadly attacks in the mineral-rich east of the DR of Congo since 2017.

In August, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo authorized the US Special Forces to enter the country to help the Congolese army battle rebels reportedly linked to the Daesh terrorist group.

According to the UN, DR of Congo has one of the highest rates of internal displacement in the world. More than five million people within the country's borders have been uprooted by insecurity, while more than a million have sought refuge in neighboring countries.

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