Armed ViolenceNews

CODECO Rebels Kill Soldier, Civilians In Eastern DR Congo

The CODECO rebels followed a similar style used by the ADF just this week, when they attacked DR Congo villagers with machete and guns.

One soldier and 11 civilians were killed on Thursday March 24, morning in a revenge attack carried out by rebels of the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We have received 11 corpses of civilians who were victims of killings this morning in Lopa region in Djugu. There was also the corpse of one soldier,” Dr John Katabuka, Director of the Bunia reference hospital in Ituri province revealed. 

Gedeon Dino, a civil society leader in Djugu also revealed the “CODECO militia attacked the Tshotsho village in the night of Wednesday to Thursday morning”. 

“They used machetes and guns to kill eleven civilians including one woman and old people.”

Lt. Jules Ngongo, spokesperson of the army in Ituri, said the rebels attacked peaceful citizens as they were running away from the army, but he did not give any casualty figures. 

Tshotsho village is situated 30 km from Bunia, chief town of Ituri province.

CODECO is an armed group with religious underpinnings. It claims to defend the rights of the Lendu community in Ituri against the army and the rival Hema tribal group.

Those killed in this latest attack  were all members of the Hema community.

According to the United Nations and the Congolese authorities, the CODECO militia are behind most of the violence in Ituri, especially in the northern part since 2017.

CODECO militia have since Feb. 16, 2022 been holding eight emissaries, including an army general, sent by President Felix Tshisekedi to negotiate for peace with the rebels. They have released one of the hostages for health reasons.

The Ituri and North Kivu provinces have been under a state of siege since May 6, 2021 and civilian authorities have been replaced by police and military governors with a view to curtailing or eradicating the violence in these two provinces. The measure does not seem to be succeeding as killings have continued unabated.

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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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