Officials in Ituri province said that when the CODECO rebels attacked the village of Drodro, six children were killed, including two women.
A military spokesperson said that armed insurgents launched attacks on displaced civilians in Ituri province in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing at least 12 people.
Jules Ngongo, spokesman for the Ituri military government, told Reuters that fighters organized by the Congolese Development Cooperative (CODECO) attacked the village of Drodro on Sunday night, killing six children, four men and two women.
Some local groups say the death toll is even higher.
According to the United Nations, since 2017, CODECO attacks have killed hundreds of civilians in the Jugu region of Ituri province and forced thousands to flee their homes.
CODECO’s fighters mainly come from the Lendu farming community that has been in conflict with Hema herders for a long time.
“Their goal is to attack the population displaced in Drodro,” Ngongo said.
Ngabu Lidja Chrysante, a priest and coordinator of Caritas, a Catholic charity in Ituri, said his colleagues in the area saw the bodies of 35 people killed in the attack, and the attack also targeted the local church.
According to the US-based Kivu Security Tracker, which mapped the violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 107 bodies were found in Drodro and surrounding villages.
“The vast majority of the dead were civilians,” the organization said.
Matthias Gilman, spokesman for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Congo, said at least 16,000 people fled the attack and took refuge in nearby locations protected by peacekeepers.
CODECO spokesperson Patrick Bassa denied that the organization killed civilians. He told Reuters that his fighters clashed with Hema militia in Drodro, but said civilians had fled the area.
The conflict between the Lendu and Hema communities from 1999 to 2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in the bloodiest chapter of the civil war in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Since May 6, the neighboring provinces of North Kivu and Ituri have been under siege. This is a special measure against armed groups such as CODECO and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The police replaced.
The ADF considered by the United States as a “terrorist organization” is one Many armed groups operating in the mineral-rich eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to local officials, in August, the organization burned to death and hacked to death at least 19 civilians in Beni County, North Kivu.