Dozens killed in attack on Congo displacement camp

People fleeing the fighting between M23 forces and Congolese army find refuge in a church in Kibumba, north of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
Associated Press/Moses Sawasawa

Dozens of people were killed in an attack on a displacement camp in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Tuesday.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), a local humanitarian organization, said 59 people were slain at the Plaine Savo displacement camp near Ituri Province. Another 40 were injured. 

Two of the deceased were students from a nearby school supported by the NRC.

The assailants used guns and machetes in the attack, according to the NRC, with Reuters reporting the attack was carried out by the CODECO militia.

“I first heard cries when I was still in bed. Then several minutes of gunshots. I fled and I saw torches and people crying for help and I realized it was the CODECO militiamen who had invaded our site,” Lokana Bale Lussa, a camp resident, told the outlet. 

The United Nations said CODECO has killed hundreds of citizens during its fight with other militias for resources and land in the country.

“We have counted more than 60 dead and [more] seriously injured,” Lussa said. “We really need security because we can’t access our farms and now we’re pursued even in our camps.”

The NRC stated 24,000 people live in the camp that was attacked. At least 68 people have been killed in five other camps since November.

“This is the latest in a series of brutal attacks in Ituri. Plaine Savo is populated by families – vulnerable families – who have fled similar violence with their children and are seeking only the right to live in peace,” Caitlin Brady, director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in DRC, said. “There has never been and never will be any justification for attacks on civilians. Those responsible for must be held to account.”

Tags CODECO Congo Democratic Republic of Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo attacks Norwegian Refugee Council Provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
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