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At least 60 dead in attack on lost people camp in Congo

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo – At least 60 people have been killed after militants attacked a camp of people displaced by violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, officials and a monitoring group In one of the largest attacks on resistance in the region in nearly a year, the survey said Wednesday.

Militants attacked the Plaine Savo camp in Ituri province on Tuesday night with guns and machetes, killing 60 people, said Ndalo Budz, who works for Caritas Congo and manages the camp. Mr. Budz said more than 50 people were injured, some seriously. According to Pierre Boisselet, coordinator of the Kivu Security Watch, which documents violence and human rights abuses in eastern Congo, the dead included at least 16 children and nine women.

Video from bystanders, some of which was shared on social media, showed crowds weeping over the bodies of their loved ones, many of whom had deep cuts to their heads and necks.

Lieutenant Jules Ngongo, a spokesman for the Congolese Army in Ituri, said the Congolese Militia Development Cooperative, known locally as CODECO, was responsible for the attack. He said troops were deployed to the barracks after the attack “to restore order, and we are pursuing the enemy.”

The attack is the latest to hit eastern Congo, a lush, mineral-rich region where militant groups have for years carried out vicious attacks on locals. Tuesday’s attack, Mr. Boisselet said, was also the deadliest attack on record in the region since last May, when 55 people were killed in an attack. Double attack in Boga and Chabi villages in Ituri . province.

More than 120 armed groups operate in the eastern provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri, according to Kivu tracker.

These groups, some of them acting as trustees to neighboring countries, have for years ravaged towns and villages, killing and kidnapping thousands, forcing hundreds of thousands of people. others had to leave their homes and lead to a huge humanitarian crisis. Nearly 5.6 million people are still displaced in Congo as of November, according to the United Nations refugee agency, with more than a million others applying for asylum and seeking asylum outside the country.

The most dangerous armed group is the Allied Democratic Forces, which have targeted peacekeepers, conducted prison breaks and carried out a series of suicide attacks in both the Congo and neighboring Uganda. At the end of November, Uganda sends troops into Congo in a joint operation with Congolese forces to neutralize the group and take over its bases in the country.

CODECO, the militia that the government says attacked Tuesday, has also become a notorious group over the past three years, attacking villages in Ituri province and pushing many out, according to observers. from their home. At least four subgroups of the militia emerged after its leader, Justin Ngudjolo, was killed in March 2020, with one of its affiliates, the Revolutionary Alliance to Protect the Congolese, perform at least 293 incidents of violence since last April, according to Kivu tracker.

The latest attack in Ituri comes amid a deteriorating security situation in the province, where attacks against civilians have escalated. Mr Boisselet said more than 800 deaths were recorded in Ituri in the last six months of 2021.

Some displacement camps have seen repeat attacks. More than 20,000 people live in Plaine Savo camp, with those in the camp initially fleeing violence in Djugu territory, said Simon Englebert Lubuku, deputy spokesman for the UN refugee agency.

Violence in eastern Congo continued even after President Felix Tshisekedi declared a “state of siege” last May in North Kivu and Ituri. Proclamation put the army and police in charge of the areas and martial law to end the bloodshed. But murders, rapes and kidnappings continue to rise.

“Neither the Congolese Army nor the UN peacekeepers have been able to adequately protect all the IDP sites, where numbers are growing,” said Mr. Boisselet.

On Wednesdays, local groups and humanitarian organizations condemn the attack and called on the authorities to hold those responsible for it to account.

“There has never been and will never be any justification for attacks on civilians,” said Caitlin Brady, director of the Norwegian Refugee Council in Congo, said in a statement.

Steve Wembi reported from Kinshasa, and Abdi Latif Dahir from Khartoum, Sudan.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/02/world/africa/congo-camp-attack-60-dead.html At least 60 dead in attack on lost people camp in Congo

Fry Electronics Team

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