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DRC CODECO Launch Deadly Ituri Attack


FILE: Commanders of the armed group URDPC/CODECO (Union des Révolutionnaires pour la Défense du Peuple Congolais/Coopérative pour le Développement du Congo) walk through the village of Linga on January 13, 2022, in Ituri province, northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

BUNIA, DRC — At least 46 people, half of them children, were killed in a militia attack on a camp for displaced people in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where civilians are suffering increasing violence.

CODECO attacked the camp in Ituri province, Democratic Republic of Congo, in the early hours of Monday, Richard Dheda, an official of the local administration for Bahema Badjere in Djugu territory, told AFP.

The CODECO, or Cooperative for the Development of the Congo, claims to protect the Lendu community from another ethnic group, the Hema, as well as the DRC army.

"They began to fire shots, many people were burned to death in their homes, others were killed by machete," civil society representative Desire Malodra said.

The Lala camp for displaced people is five kilometers from Bule, the site of a U.N. peacekeeper base.

Ituri province is one of eastern DRC's violence hotspots, where attacks claiming dozens of lives are common.

CODECO militiamen attacked an army position in the Djukoth area of Ituri province's Mahagi territory late on Saturday, killing seven civilians.

After a decade of calm, the conflict between the Hema and Lendu communities rekindled in 2017, resulting in thousands of deaths and forcing more than 1.5 million people from their homes.

Much of eastern DRC is plagued by dozens of armed groups, a legacy of regional wars that flared in the 1990s and 2000s.