CODECO Rebels Attack, Kill Displaced Persons In Ituri, DR Congo

This is the second major attack by the CODECO rebels in one week, leaving high casualties behind.

At least 14 civilians were killed in a camp for displaced persons in Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of Congo  by suspected  combatants of the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO).

The attack, according to the Kivu Security Barometer, happened on Monday, May 9, 2022.

“At least 14 civilians were killed in the Lodda displaced persons camp near Fataki in Djugu territory of Ituri this Monday. The CODECO-URDPC rebels are suspected,” the Kivu Security Barometer outfit revealed.

Jules Tsuba, president of the civil society of Djugu territory also confirmed that “The CODECO militia came around 9 p.m. They simultaneously attacked the Lodda displaced persons site and the military camp around Fataki”.

According to Tsuba, the two attacks resulted in 15  deaths,  noting that a soldier was among the victims. 

“The majority of victims were children. Photos from the scene showed nine corpses of children in pools of their blood and some of them had their stomachs opened,” he said.

“This casualty figure is provisional. It was shocking to see children so butchered by machetes.

The CODECO-Union des Revolutionnaires pour la Défense du Peuple Congolais (URDPC) is a faction of the CODECO armed group structured around a religious sect.

This militia claims to defend the Lendu community against the rival Hema people and against the security forces.

Majority of the displaced persons in Loddo site are members of the Hema community, one of the communities of the Ituri province which returned into violence in 2017 with the arrival of the CODECO group.

The last big attack attributed to the group in Djugu territory was on Sunday, May 8, 2022 when 35 persons were killed during an attack on an artisanal gold mine. Among the dead were a woman and a four-month-old baby.

The provinces of Ituri and North Kivu have been under a state of siege since May 6, 2021 which gives full powers to military authorities and is intended to curtail violence in the two provinces.

However, in a report published on Tuesday May 10, 2022, Amnesty International estimates that the state of siege has not resulted into “any amelioration in the protection of civilians” but rather, it has brought about “new abuses of fundamental liberties of persons, in total disregard for international law related to human rights and associated norms”.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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