Armed ViolenceNews

DR Congo IDP Camp Massacre Victims Buried En Masse

The displaced persons were killed in an attack attributed to the CODECO rebel group operating in the troubled Ituri region of DR Congo.

The bodies of 53 persons killed during an attack by an armed gang on the Plaine Savo Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Ituri province to the northeast of the DR Congo were buried on Friday, Feb. 4, in a mass grave at the Plaine Savo site.

Speaking during the burial ceremony, Emmanuel Ndalo, who is in charge of the Plaine Savo displaced persons camp, said the bodies of nine other persons who were killed during the attack on the site had been collected by their family members and buried in their villages of origin.

The victims, including women and children, were killed by rebels of the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) who claim to be defending the interests of the Lendu community and who attack mainly Hema communities.

“They killed 62 persons, among whom were 17 children and wounded 46 other displaced persons,” Ndalo revealed.

“Victims were cut into pieces by machetes, their hands and legs were cut. What we experienced was really horrible,” he added before calling for “an immediate investigation and protection of the site by UN Blue Helmet soldiers.”

He disclosed that more than 40,000 IDPs are accommodated in the Plaine Savo site.

The burial ceremony was witnessed by thousands of displaced persons from neighbouring villages including crying women and men demanding to know why they had been abandoned at the mercy of vicious armed groups.

Several other IDP sites occupied by displaced persons from several villages have been attacked during the past several months in Ituri province which is on the Ugandan border.

Ituri and the neighbouring province of North Kivu have been under a state of siege since May 6, 2021. The exceptional measure gives full powers to the army and the police but this extreme measure has not succeeded in putting an end or even curbing the exactions by armed groups.

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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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