According to the Daily Nation, a notorious militia in Eastern DR Congo on Sunday executed 17 people it had taken hostage Saturday (March 25).
The infamous CODECO insurgents murdered at least 17 people captured in the Djugu territory, about 45km (30 miles) north of Bunia in Ituri province, local community leader Banguneni Gbalande informed news outlets.
CODECO (the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo) claims to safeguard the Lendu farming community in the Ituri region from another ethnic group, the Hema and the army. It is one arm of many armed militia groups operating in the mineral-rich area.
The victims were passengers aboard four vehicles heading to Mungwalu, in Ituri province, UN-sponsored Radio Okapi revealed. They were taken hostage after three CODECO members were killed in a clash with a rival militia, said a resident in one of the two villages attacked Saturday.
Among those taken hostage was a pregnant woman, revealed a source whose name remains hidden due to security reasons.
Local authorities are yet to give a public statement regarding the attack.
Since December 2022, dozens of people are said to have been murdered in the gold-rich Ituri province every week. Recently, the CODECO militia has been blamed for a series of massacres, claiming the lives of 30 people, including women and kids.
Eastern Congo is plagued by a slew of armed groups, many of which are legacies of regional wars that flared in the 90s and 2000s. Ituri is one of the country’s violence hotspots, where attacks claiming hundreds are routine.
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