Nine killed in DR Congo’s Ituri after weeks of calm

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Moroccan peacekeepers from MONUSCO (The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) are stuck in the mud on the outskirts of Jina village, in the Djugu Region, on September 14, 2020. - In northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, in the Djugu region, Ituri Province, Jina and surrounding villages have been repeatedly attacked. Since the end of 2017, the conflict in Ituri has resulted in several hundred deaths and more than one and a half million displaced persons. Most of the massacres are attributed to armed militias belonging to the Lendu community and claiming to defend themselves against the Congolese army and the Hema community. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP) (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP via Getty Images)
The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the Djugu region, Ituri Province, where surrounding villages have been repeatedly attacked. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP via Getty Images)

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

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