Bunia – Militiamen have killed 11 civilians during an attack on a village in the strife-torn northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a respected monitor said on Friday.
The attack occurred Thursday about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Bunia in Dujugu territory, the Kivu Security Tracker (KST) said on Twitter, pointing the finger at the Ituri Self-Defense Popular Front (FPAC-Zaire)
“At least 11 civilians were killed in Ndungbe village,” the monitor said.
The Zaire militia describes itself as a self-defence group whose mission is to protect members of the Hema community against attacks from the CODECO militia representing the rival Lendu community.
The Lendu and Hema communities have a long-standing feud that led to thousands of deaths between 1999 and 2003 before intervention by a European peacekeeping force.
Violence then resumed in 2017, blamed on the emergence of CODECO.
CODECO is considered one of the deadliest of the militias operating in the east of the country, blamed for a number of ethnic massacres in the province of Ituri.
“The attacks by Zaire militiamen against civilians seem from now on to respond systematically to frequent CODECO attacks against other civilians,” KST official Pierre Boisselet said, warning of an increased “risk of sectarianism and radicalisation” in the region.
Earlier in May, around 50 civilians were killed in attacks blamed on CODECO, the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo.
Ituri and neighbouring North Kivu province have been under a “state of siege” since May last year. The army and police have replaced senior administrators in a bid to stem attacks by armed groups.
Despite this, the authorities have been unable to stop the massacres regularly carried out on civilians.
Image: Twitter /@PraiseAkello