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At least 60 people killed in militia attack in eastern...

Newsdeck

militia attack

At least 60 people killed in militia attack in eastern DR Congo

epa09307843 Residents of Beni gather at the scene of a bomb blast outside a bar at MaluMalu junction in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, 28 June 2021. A man died after a bomb he was carrying exploded outside a bar. A curfew has been declared by the authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo's eastern town of Beni following two bomb blasts on 27 June 2021. No one has claimed responsibility for the blasts but a rebel group called the Allied Defence Forces(ADF) has carried out similar attacks in the region recently. EPA-EFE/STR
By Reuters
02 Feb 2022 0

BENI, Democratic Republic of Congo, Feb 2 (Reuters) - At least 60 people were killed in a militia attack on Wednesday morning at a displaced persons' camp in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the head of a local humanitarian group and a witness said.

Both sources told Reuters the CODECO militia was responsible for the killings, which took place about 0200 GMT at the Savo camp in Ituri province.

CODECO fighters have killed hundreds of civilians in Ituri in recent years and forced thousands to flee their homes, according to the United Nations. Recent attacks have also targeted displaced persons camps.

“I first heard cries when I was still in bed. Then several minutes of gunshots. I fled and I saw torches and people crying for help and I realized it was the CODECO militiamen who had invaded our site,” said Lokana Bale Lussa, a camp resident.

“We have counted more than 60 dead and (more) seriously injured,” he said.

Charite Banza Bavi, president of the local humanitarian group for the Bahema-North area, put the death toll at 63.

The Savo displacement site was home to about 4,000 people in December, according to the U.N. migration agency.

CODECO’s fighters are drawn mainly from the Lendu farming community, which has long been in conflict with Hema herders.

A government spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

By Erikas Mwisi Kambale.

(Reporting by Erikas Mwisi Kambale; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Angus MacSwan)

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