The overnight attack was carried out by rebels at a camp for displaced persons on the outskirts of the eastern city of Fataki, the army says.
Rebels killed at least 14 people, including children, in an overnight attack on a camp for displaced people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the latest violence in the conflict-torn region, the army and a leader of civil society.
Army spokesman Jules Ngongo Tsikudi said Tuesday that rebels raided a site on the outskirts of Fataki town in the Djugu region of eastern Ituri province, where hundreds of civilians have sought refuge in recent years. months.
The attack in Djugu was also confirmed by the Kivu Security Tracker (KST), a respected monitor of violence in the conflict-torn region.
Civil society leader Dieudonne Lossa gave a provisional figure of 15 dead and blamed an armed group known as CODECO, accused of organizing another attack on a nearby artisanal mining site on Sunday that killed at least 35.
CODECO – the name of the Congo Development Cooperative – is a political-religious sect that claims to represent the interests of the Lendu ethnic group.
It is considered one of the deadliest groups operating in the east of the country, and has been blamed for a series of ethnic massacres.
The group is one of several armed groups, including ISIL (also known as ISIS), vying for land and resources in the mineral-rich east of Congo, a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives and displaced millions during the war. last decade.
Jules Tsuba, president of an association of civil society groups in Djugu, said most of the victims of Monday’s attack were children and stressed that the death toll was provisional.
“It is shocking to see children hacked to death with machetes,” he told the AFP news agency.
Photos seen by AFP showed the children lying on the ground, covered in blood.
CODECO is known for targeting civilians, killing 18 people in a church last month and another 60 in a displaced persons camp in February.
Called a “state of siege” in the DRC, Ituri and North Kivu’s military-and-police-led administrations have been criticized for their apparent ineffectiveness.
Security forces have ruled the regions since May last year, hoping to curb attacks, but massacres of civilians have continued.
The provinces are plagued by a growing number of attacks by various militias, including CODECO and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which ISIL describes as its local affiliate.
Around 2,500 civilians were killed between May 2021 and April 2022, according to KST.
President Félix Tshisekedi, pressured by the deputies of the provinces, has decided to review the effectiveness of the state of siege.
Amnesty International, in a report published on Tuesday, said the strategy had led to abuse rather than increased security.
“Military and police authorities have used their powers under the state of siege to crack down on anyone they deem critical, including members of parliament and human rights activists,” the human rights group said.
“They continue to repress peaceful demonstrations and put activists in jail.”