#REUTERS. | At least 16 civilians killed in attacks in two villages in Ituri

“At least 14 civilians were killed this morning (Friday) in Gina during an incursion by Codeco-URDPC and ALC,” the Kivu Security Barometer (KST) posted on Twitter.

These groups also attacked the town of Nizi, added the KST, a joint initiative of the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Study Group on Congo (GEC) attached to New York University.

“The attack lasted several hours, from 04:00 am (02:00 GMT) until around 11:00 am (09:00 GMT), when the DRC Armed Forces were able to regain control of these two localities,” one of the experts told AFP. who did not want to be quoted.

Before this attack, the village of Gina, located in the territory of Djugu and inhabited mainly by members of the Hema community, was controlled by Congolese soldiers.

The attack was carried out jointly by the Cooperative for the development of Congo-Union of revolutionaries for the defense of the Congolese people (Codeco-URDPC) and the group “Armée de liberation du Congo” (ALC), another militia.

In the attack on the locality of Nizi, which was repulsed by the army, these militiamen “killed two civilians in their flight”, according to Lieutenant Jules Ngongo, spokesperson for the army in Ituri. Local civil society is “taking stock of four civilians killed,” said its president, Ngadjole Asani.

In the same area, a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) vehicle was the target of gunfire, the NGO said in a statement.

The Codeco armed group claims to defend the interests of the Lendu community in Ituri, a province marked by strong antagonisms between ethnic groups. This group split into several rival factions.

The gold province of Ituri has plunged back into a cycle of violence since the end of 2017 with the advent of the Codeco militia.

The provinces of North Kivu and Ituri have been placed under a state of siege since May 6, an exceptional measure to fight against armed groups. Civilian authorities have been replaced by army and police officers.

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Source: Reuters-VOA.

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