At least 20 civilians were killed in weekend militia attacks in the volatile Ituri province of northeast DR Congo, the United Nations and local sources said Monday.
Dieudonne Lossa, a civil society coordinator for Ituri, said the two attacks on Sunday were carried out by the CODECO militants, a group claiming to protect the Lendu community from another ethnic group, the Hema, as well as from the national army.
The first targeted three villages in Ituri, where nine people were killed and several shops torched, and the second was in Mongbwalu, where 12 people died.
Stephane Dujarric, a UN spokesman in New York, said “at least 20 civilians” were killed in attacks attributed to CODECO.
“They reportedly also damaged medical infrastructures in a string of attacks against villages in Djungu territory,” he said.
“At the same time, another armed group, the ADF, attacked two villages in Irumu territory which resulted in at least 12 civilians killed according to our reports,” Dujarric added.
Since the end of last year, the number of attacks by militants in Ituri, some allied with jihadist insurgencies, has left several dozen dead nearly every week.
In an attempt to stem the violence, the government in May 2021 declared a state of alert in Ituri and North Kivu, another province wracked by violence, replacing civil administrators with police and troops.