(Kinshasa) The massacres continue in Ituri, a province in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo where more than 150 civilians have been killed since the beginning of April, the UN Humanitarian Coordination Office (OCHA) deplored on Tuesday.
In his last quarterly report, at the end of March, the Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres put the number of civilians killed since the beginning of December at 485 in this province rich in gold and plagued by violence from several armed groups.
Among them are the Codeco (Cooperative for the Development of Congo) militia which claims to defend the Lendu tribe and the rival Zaire militia which claims to protect the Hema. The province is also the target of attacks by the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) affiliated with the jihadist group Islamic State.
During the first two weeks of April, OCHA-DRC noted a “persistence of attacks against civilians in three distinct territories” (Djugu, Irumu, Mambasa) where, according to humanitarian sources and local authorities, “armed attacks caused about 150 deaths.
Since the beginning of the month, the locality of Komanda in Irumu territory “has become the refuge of thousands of people fleeing generalized insecurity” in the chefferie (grouping of villages) of Walese Vonkutu, adds OCHA.
The UN Humanitarian Coordination Office also reports attacks on basic infrastructure, including the Rimba health center (Mahagi territory), “ransacked on April 12 by armed elements”.
After a decade of lull, the deadly conflict between Hema and Lendu resumed at the end of 2017, causing the flight of more than a million and a half people and the death of several thousand others.
Like the neighboring province of North Kivu, Ituri has been under a “state of siege” for almost two years, an exceptional measure that replaced the civil administration with the police and the army, but which has not succeeded to stop the violence.