Militiamen kill at least 20 at displacement camp in Congo

Government officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo said on Monday that militiamen killed at least 20 people at a displacement camp, Reuters reported.

Jules Ngongo, a spokesman for Ituri's military government, told the news outlet that CODECO militia fighters raided the village of Drodro on Sunday.

He said 12 civilians were killed, including six  children. A spokesman for the national government later said the death toll was around 20.

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"Their objective was to attack the population that was displaced in Drodro," Ngongo said.

Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya confirmed on Twitter that 20 people died in the militia attack. 

The attack comes after numerous conflicts between Lendu and Hema resulted in the deaths of an estimated 50,000 people from 1999 to 2007 during a civil war in the eastern part of the country. 

Since May, Ituri and neighboring North Kivu province have been ruled by military officers, with the government declaring a state of siege in response to rampant violence, Reuters reported. 

CODECO spokesman Patrick Basa denied his group killed civilians, saying that the fighters clashed with the Hema militia in Drodro and civilians fled the area, Reuters noted.