8 Children Among 9 Killed In Attack In East DR Congo

Armed men have killed nine people, including eight children,  and torched dozens of houses in an attack in eastern DR Congo, local sources said on Tuesday.

The attack occurred in the village of Azimini in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri province on Monday afternoon, according to Jeremie Upio Ndjaba, the head of a local civil-society group.

Nine bodies were discovered the following morning in the aftermath of the violence, he told AFP,  including those of eight children who had been hacked to death, and of one elderly woman who’d been shot.

Three people were also gravely wounded in the attack and two more are missing, Upio Ndjaba said, adding that the militants had also torched over 100 homes and stolen livestock.

AFP was unable to independently confirm the details of the attack.

Upio Ndjaba blamed the Zaire militia, which defines itself as a self-defence group for the Hema ethnic group.

According to telephone interviews conducted by AFP from Ituri’s capital Buna, the victims of the attack are members of the Lendu ethnic group.

The Lendu and Hema communities have a long-standing feud that led to thousands of deaths between 1999 and 2003 before intervention by a European peacekeeping force.

Violence then resumed in 2017, blamed on the emergence of the CODECO militia, which claims to represent the Lendu.

On Friday, suspected Zaire militiamen also killed 12 people including five children in an attack in Ituri.

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

Zaire militia members turned down an invitation to participate in the talks.