Fourteen civilians, including seven children, were killed in a displaced people’s camp in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo, the Red Cross said on Sunday as a community leader blamed the machete attack on a militia.
Seven adults and seven children, including a two-year-old girl, were all killed in the machete attack Saturday in the Ituri region, according to a list from the local Red Cross seen by AFP.
Five women aged between 25 and 32 were also among the victims, according to the list.
Jean D’Zba Banju, a community leader in the Djugu area of Ituri, said the perpetrators belonged to a notorious armed group called CODECO, which is blamed for a string of ethnic massacres in the area.
“CODECO militiamen entered Drakpa and started to cut people with machetes. They did not fire shots in order to operate calmly,” Banju told AFP.
“The victims are displaced people who had fled Ngotshi village to set up in Drakpa,” he said, adding that five others were wounded.
CODECO is a political-religious sect that claims to represent the interests of the Lendu ethnic group.
In the neighboring region of Beni, “four young people were killed in an ambush by ADF rebels on Sunday, three kilometers (1.8 miles) from Eringeti,” said Sabiti Njiamoja, an official for the governor of North Kivu.
The Allied Democratic Forces have been accused of killing thousands of civilians in DR Congo’s troubled east. The so-called Islamic State group bills the ADF as its local affiliate.
Ituri and North Kivu have both been under an official “state of siege” since last May, in a bid to crush armed groups that plague the two provinces.
Despite the crackdown — and cross-border support from Ugandan forces, which began in late November — the ADF’s attacks have continued.