At least 17 persons were killed on Monday, Nov. 15, by militiamen of the Force Patriotique et Integrationniste du Congo (FPIC) in Ituri, northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, local authorities said.
“The armed group attacked the village of Chabusiku and killed seventeen civilians, some of whom were found burnt in their houses,” said David Bahinduka Bamuhiga, the chief of the rural sector of Bahema-Irumu in Ituri.
“We have mobilized the youths to dig graves to bury the victims, majority of whom are members of the Hema community,” Bamuhiga declared, adding that the Congolese national army, FARDC, only arrived at the scene after the killings.
Meanwhile, experts of the Kivu Security Barometre (KST) estimate that “at least 18 civilians were killed in this attack. Militiamen of the Chini ya Kilima – FPIC are the prime suspects.”
According to the KST, “These new killings bring to at least 1,137, the number of civilians killed in North Kivu and Ituri since the beginning of the state siege in the two provinces on May 6.”
When contacted for comments on the attack, an army spokesperson declined making a declaration but indicated that the army knew of the attack.
Chabusiku is situated 12 kilometres from Bunia, chief town of Ituri province.
The FPIC has always claimed to be defending the interests of the Bira, an ethnic community in Ituri province which has been marred by violence since 2017 after several years of calm. The violence has so far resulted in the deaths of at least 1000 persons.
For the past 25 years, the eastern DR Congo has been plunged into violence following its occupation by armed groups which threaten civilians and attack positions of the FARDC.
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