DRC: ten militia members killed in Ituri (army)
Ten members of an armed group accused of the massacre of dozens of civilians in Ituri, northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, were killed and their leaders “severely injured” by the Congolese army, it said. learned Thursday from a military source.
“The army was attacked by a convoy with parts of the armed group Ngudjolo,” named after its leader, on the Djugu Territory in Ituri, told Jules Ngongo, the army spokesman in the region.
“During this fight, the rebel leader Ngudjolo was seriously injured and for the moment our men cross the area until we find him alive or dead,” he added.
The death toll was “10 dead including seven guards” by the rebel leader, he said, adding that a soldier had also been injured.
Ngudjolo is the head of the Coopérative pour le développement du Congo (Codeco) armed group, which has been very active since June in the Djugu Territory.
This region in northern Ituri has returned to violence since the end of 2017. More than 700 civilians have been killed there in a conflict worthy of a “crime against humanity”, according to the UN.
In this oil-bearing gold region, a social conflict had demanded tens of thousands of victims between 1999 and 2003, until the intervention of a European force.
The conflict was between two communities, Lendu, mainly farmers, and Hema, shepherds and traders.
The Codeco armed group is a pro-Lendu militia. One of the most important issues in the current conflict is “Lendu land control”, according to a joint report by the UN Mission in Congo (Monusco) and the Human Rights Agency, published in January. The victims have mainly been Hema since the end of 2017.