Tuesday, April 16, 2024

DR Congo militia executes 17 hostages

The CODECO militia, one of many armed groups in DR Congo, is being blamed by locals for the execution.

• March 27, 2023
DRC's CODECO militia
DRC’s CODECO militia

The CODECO militia, a notorious group in eastern DR Congo, has executed 17 hostages, per an AFP report. 

Those executed were captured a day before in the Djugu territory, around 45 kilometers (30 miles) north of Bunia in Ituri province, local community leader Banguneni Gbalande told AFP. 

“The hostages are dead, they have been executed by the CODECO militia,” local leader Toko Kagbanese told AFP.

Named the Cooperative for the development of the Congo (CODECO), the group is one of many armed groups in the country, a direct consequence of the regional wars that plagued the DR Congo in the 1990s and 2000s. 

A source said the group took the hostages after three of their members died in a clash with a rival militia group. Two villages were attacked and one of the hostage is a pregnant woman.  

The gold-rich Ituri province has become a hotbed of armed attacks, with dozens of people killed every week in the region since the beginning of 2023. 

The CODECO militia claims to protect the Lendu community from another ethnic group, the Hema, and the army. 

In recent days, CODECO fighters have been blamed for a series of massacres, claiming the lives of 30 people, including women and children.

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