Nine women and children have been killed in a new round of violence in northeastern DR Congo after weeks of relative calm following peace negotiations with a notorious armed group, sources said Tuesday.
It’s believed fighters from the Cooperation for the Development of Congo (CODECO) are responsible. CODECO is an armed political-religious sect linked to more than a thousand deaths in Djugu since December 2017.
Experts say CODECO brings together several sects of militia fighters who claim to defend the rights of ethnic Lendu farming communities.
The rate of attacks in Ituri has dropped significantly in recent weeks after President Felix Tshisekedi sent a delegation of former warlords to the province in August to negotiate peace with CODECO.
Several factions of CODECO, which does not have a unified leadership, have since agreed to suspend attacks on ethnic rivals.
But the militia has been divided for several months, with some fighters shunning the agreement.
Conflict erupted between ethnic Lendu herders and Hema traders in the mineral-rich province between 1999 and 2003, killing tens of thousands.
Story compiled with assistance from AFP