Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More than 50 residents killed in DR Congo machete attack



More than 50 residents killed in DR Congo machete attack

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
More than 50 people were massacred on Tuesday evening at a site for displaced people in Ituri, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in new carnage attributed to a community militia. AFP

More than 50 residents killed in DR Congo machete attack

More than 50 civilians were killed when machete-wielding militiamen attacked a site for displaced people in strife-torn eastern DR Congo, sources said.

Fifty-two people, some of them children, were killed, a source with the UN’s peacekeeping mission MONUSCO said, adding that 36 were wounded. The Congolese government, which spoke of a “crime against humanity”, also said “about 50” people had died.

Local officials and civil society sources put the toll at more than 50 dead, while a respected monitor, the US-based Kivu Security Tracker (KST), said “at least” 40 were killed.

The army’s spokesman in Ituri province, Lieutenant Jules Ngongo, gave provisional figures of 21 dead.

“The massacre of defenceless civilians is a crime against humanity,” he said.

KST said the suspected attackers, carrying “edged weapons”, were from a notorious armed group called CODECO, blamed for a string of ethnic massacres in the area.

The communication ministry said in a tweet that regular army troops “stopped” the attack, while MONUSCO tweeted that its peacekeepers helped quell the attack, which took place in the Djugu area near Lake Albert.

The area is the theatre of a bloody, long-running feud between the Lendu and Hema communities.

Fighting between the two groups flared between 1999 and 2003, claiming tens of thousands of lives before being quelled by a EU peacekeeping force, Artemis.

Violence then resumed in 2017, blamed on the emergence of CODECO – the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (CODECO) – which claims to defend the Lendu.

Since then, CODECO attacks have caused hundreds of deaths and prompted more than 1.5 million people to flee their homes, while half of the region’s population faces food insecurity, according to the Danish Refugee Council.

The latest assault targeted the Plaine Savo camp for displaced peple, where more than 24,000 took refuge following violence in Djugu in 2019, the Norwegian Refugee Council said.

Raids on camps for displaced people over an eight-day period in November-December left 123 dead, according to KST.

Jean Richard Dhedda Lenga, the senior administrator in Bahema Badjere district, said CODECO raiders attacked the site “at around 9pm, 10pm” on February 1.

“We have a provisional total of 59 dead” and around 40 wounded,” he told AFP by phone.

“I have just left the area – young people are looking for other bodies in huts and in the bush.”

Desire Malo Dra, a representative of civil society groups in Bahema Badjere, said most of the casualties were women and children.

“I have counted 53 bodies, others are coming in, they are all being gathered here where I am,” he said.

“The militiamen came armed with machetes. Many victims had their throats cut,” he said.

He added that the assailants “carried out their work calmly”, and the army arrived hours later, on the morning of February 2.

MONUSCO said on Twitter that its peacekeepers “arrived on the scene to stop the killing and repel the attackers.”

The UN’s children’s agency UNICEF said at least 15 children were among the dead, and more than 30 children were wounded.

MOST VIEWED

  • South Korea’s first lady brings hope to ill boy

    South Korea’s first lady Kim Keon-hee – wife of current president of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol – met with a 14-year-boy with congenital heart disease during her trip to the Kingdom for the ASEAN Summit. After their meeting it was announced that the

  • Hun Sen gets Covid, shuns G20, APEC summits

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has tested positive for Covid-19 in Indonesia, where he is slated to attend the G20 summit in his capacity of the ASEAN chair. In a social media post addressing the Cambodian public, he said: “Before leaving Cambodia, I always

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • Hun Sen’s Covid infection caused by ‘weakened antibody’ after summit

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol