At least 41 killed in DR Congo camp massacre 'carried out' by CODECO militiamen

At least 41 killed in DR Congo camp massacre 'carried out' by CODECO militiamen
An official said militiamen affiliated with the CODECO rebel group killed at least 41 people in a camp for displaced people in the DR Congo's Ituri province.
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An official said that CODECO militiamen burned people to their death as well as killed them by machete in the insurgency-hit province of Ituri [Getty]

Militants have attacked a camp for displaced persons in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, killing at least 41 people, a local official said Monday.

CODECO militiamen attacked the camp in Ituri province in the early hours of Monday, Richard Dheda, an official of the local administration for Bahema Badjere in Djugu territory, told AFP.

The CODECO, or Cooperative for the Development of the Congo, claims to protect the Lendu community from another ethnic group, the Hema, as well as the DR Congo army.

"They began to fire shots, many people were burned to death in their homes, others were killed by machete," civil society representative Desire Malodra said.

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The Lala camp for displaced people is five kilometres (three miles) from Bule, the site of a UN peacekeeper base.

Ituri province is one of eastern DR Congo's violence hotspots, where attacks claiming dozens of lives are common.

CODECO militiamen attacked an army position in the Djukoth area of Ituri province's Mahagi territory late on Saturday, killing seven civilians.

After a decade of calm, the conflict between the Hema and Lendu communities rekindled in 2017, resulting in thousands of deaths and forcing more than 1.5 million people from their homes.

Much of eastern DR Congo is plagued by dozens of armed groups, a legacy of regional wars that flared in the 1990s and 2000s.