Congo militiamen kill more than 12 at displaced camp in east

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Democratic Republic of Congo military personnel (FARDC) patrol against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU) rebels near Beni in North-Kivu province, December 31, 2013. The Democratic Republic of Congo is struggling to emerge from decades of violence and instability, particularly in its east, in which millions of people have died, mostly from hunger and disease. A 21,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) is stationed in the country. REUTERS

Militiamen targeting a camp for displaced people in Congo’s east have killed at least a dozen people in attacks on two villages in the Ituri province, the army said Monday.

Local officials and a group that tracks violence in the region put the toll ranging from 18 to 29 dead. The vast majority of those killed in the villages of Drodro and Mba/Dongo were civilians, according to the Kivu Security Tracker, which put the toll at 29 killed after extensive interviews in the area. It had earlier put the toll at 107 but later said that information was erroneous.

The chief of the North Behma area nearby, Willy Pilo Mulindro, said there was significant material damage done in the attack and the toll is provisional.

“Those who were searching for bodies fled the sounds of bullets. They have not yet returned to the scene because of what was done, “ he said.

A civil society leader, Charite Banza, said at least 22 bodies have been recovered and the Catholic Church in Drodro was ransacked.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo said at least 16,000 people fleeing the violence have taken shelter nearby at a site protected by peacekeepers.

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