At least 16 civilians were killed in two attacks by rebels in Ituri province situated in the northwest of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to the Security Barometer of Kivu (SBK), the attacks on Friday, Oct. 29, were carried out by rebels of the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO)-URDPC and the Alliance for the Liberation of Congo (ALC).
The groups also attacked the locality of Nizi, according to the SBK which is an initiative of the Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) Human Rights Watch and a study group on Congo attached to the University of New York, in the United States of America.
“The attacks lasted for several hours from 2 a.m. till 9 a.m. when the national army, FARDC, finally took control of the two localities” security sources who declined to identify themselves told the media.
Before the attacks, Gina village, situated in the Djugu territory and inhabited mostly by members of the Hema community, was controlled by the Congolese army.
In the attack on Nizi that was pushed back by the FARDC, the militia had killed two civilians before fleeing, according to Lt. Jules Ngongo, spokesperson of the army in Ituri.
However, the civil society says four civilians were killed and not two, according to its president Ngadjole Asani.
In the same zone, a vehicle belonging to the French humanitarian NGO Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) was shot at by armed individuals.
CODECO says it is fighting to protect the interests of the Lendu community in Ituri where there are strong ethnic antagonisms. The group has since splintered into several factions.
Ituri province was plunged into a new cycle of violence in 2017 following the arrival of the CODECO militia in the area.
The provinces of Ituri and North Kivu have been under a state of siege declared by the DR Congo president Felix Tshisekedi since May 6, 2021 with a view to curtailing the activities of rebel groups in the provinces.
Civilian authorities have since been replaced by military administrators in the two provinces.
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