Local officials: Twenty civilians killed in northeast DR Congo

GOMA, CONGO - APRIL 26: A Congolese soldier (FARDC) poses April 26, 2010 on the outskirts of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Government soldiers, who usually get paid around $35-40 per month, are struggling to survive and support their family. Some of them are accused of extortion, rape, and other crimes. (Photo by Kuni Takahashi/Getty Images)
Four bullets on the geographical map of Democratic Republic of the Congo./Getty Images

At least 20 civilians, among them women and children were killed in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri province overnight Saturday-Sunday, local officials told AFP.

“We have 20 people killed for now and 17 wounded, some of them admitted to hospital,” Adel Alingi, a Djugu territory administrator, told AFP, adding that a notorious regional militia was suspected of carrying out the latest massacre in the Democratic Republic.

Pilo Mulindro, a tribal chief who spoke to AFP by telephone said that “the victims are of all ages, children, youths, women and old men, killed by machete, by knife or by firearm”.

Local authorities blamed the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (Codeco) for the massacre, one of the dozens armed groups spread across the country.

Members of Codeco mainly come from the Lendu ethnic group who are predominantly farmers and clash frequently with the Hema community of traders and herders in oil and gold rich region of Ituri.

The group has been accused of the murder of hundreds of civilians this year alone.