Sunday 26, March 2023

12 including five children killed in DR Congo clashes

Time International Desk: Five children were among 12 people killed in a village in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo by suspected militiamen who did not attend recent peace talks, local sources said on Friday.

‘Civilians were burnt alive in their homes, others were hacked to death with machetes,’ Joseph Lotoma, head of the Walendu Watsi village, told AFP following the overnight killings.

The bodies of five children, three women and four men were found in the morning, he said.

Most of the victims were from the Lendu ethnic group, said Jean-Marie Ndjaza, a spokesman for the Lendu people.

Lotoma said ‘the perpetrators of this crime are not the Codeco’, a militia that claims to represent the Lendu ethnic group and is accused of killing scores of civilians in the province in recent years.

Investigations were continuing, he said, but those responsible were believed to be ‘Zaire’, a rival militia that defines itself as a Hema ethnic group self-defence outfit.

CODECO was represented at the recent round of peace talks in Nairobi with several dozen armed groups operating in eastern DRC.

But the Zaire group turned down the invitation.

The Lendu community raised fears of reprisals by Codeco.

‘We call on the leaders of Codeco not to fall into the trap of their enemies, not to respond to this provocation,’ Ndjaza said.


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