DRC: New Killings Of Civilians In The East Of The Country

Source: Globe Echo

By David Sadler | Last Updated Mar 20, 2023

Bloody and indiscriminate violence continues to plague the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Twenty civilians were killed on Saturday March 18 in two separate attacks in this part of the country, which has been plagued by violence from dozens of armed groups for nearly thirty years.

In Ituri province, the Codeco militia (Cooperative for the development of Congo), which claims to protect the Lendu tribe against the Hema tribe, is accused of having attacked five villages in the Mahagi territory on Saturday morning. “So far we have counted fifteen dead, mostly women, children and old people”declared on Sunday to Agence France-Presse (AFP), Arnold Lokwa, responsible for the “chieftaincy » (group of villages) of Panduru.

In the neighboring province of North Kivu, it is the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) rebels, affiliated with the jihadist group Islamic State (IS), who are accused of having killed at least nine people in the village of Nguli, in the territory of Lubero. The victims “were killed with bladed weapons, machetes and knives”a tenth person was seriously injured and “two children are missing”village chief Kambale Kamboso told AFP on Sunday. 

IS claimed responsibility for the attack on Sunday. “On Saturday, ISIS fighters launched an armed attack on the village of Nguli”, in North Kivu, according to a press release published by its propaganda organ, Amaq. Originally mainly Muslim Ugandan rebels, the ADF have been rooted since the mid-1990s in eastern DRC, where they are accused of having massacred thousands of civilians.

Ceasefire broken

In the same province of North Kivu, but further south, fighting also resumed on Saturday between the army and the M23 rebels in the territory of Masisi, after a few days of calm. In a statement, the army accused the rebellion of having attacked at least six of its positions and of committing “recurrent violations of the ceasefire”. Residents interviewed by telephone reported fighting in the evening in Bihambwe, not far from the mining town of Rubaya. This whole area is located northwest of the provincial capital, Goma.Read also: In the DRC, the impossible ceasefire underlines the diplomatic deadlock

The M23 (“March 23 Movement”) is a predominantly Tutsi rebellion – supported by Rwanda, according to Kinshasa and United Nations experts – which has seized large swaths of territory in North Kivu for a year.

After several announcements of cessation of hostilities not followed by effect, a ceasefire should have intervened on March 7 but was not respected either. The fighting had however stopped a few days this week, while the M23 withdrew from villages where Burundian soldiers from the force sent to the region by the Community of East African States (EAC) were deployed.Read also: Article reserved for our subscribersIn Africa, the new “partnership” proposed by Emmanuel Macron put to the test by the crisis in the DRC

The World with AFP