At least thirty-five people were killed on Sunday, May 8, by rebels from the armed group “Cooperative for the development of Congo” (Codeco) who attacked an artisanal gold mine in Ituri, in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, we learned from local authorities.
“The Codecos killed in the “Camp Blanquette” gold mine. There are 29 bodies brought back to the city of Pluto. Six charred bodies were buried there.declared to Agence France-Presse (AFP) Jean-Pierre Bikilisende, mayor of the rural commune of Mungwalu in the territory of Djugu (Ituri, north-east). “A 4 month old baby” is among the dead. “This assessment is provisional, since there are other civilians killed whose bodies were thrown into gold panning holes and several other civilians are missing. The search continues »said Mr. Bikilisende.
A year of state of siege in the region
“’Camp Blanquette’ is erected in the forest, far from the nearest military position. The intervention therefore arrived with a little delay.he lamented. “There are also several injured, nine of them seriously, admitted to Mungwalu General Hospital,” declared, for his part, to AFP Chérubin Kukundila, one of the leaders of the civil society of Mungwalu, estimating that“at least fifty people have been killed”.
The artisanal gold mine called “Camp Blanquette” is located in the forest more than 7 km from the city of Mungwalu in the territory of Djugu (Ituri), stronghold of the armed group Codeco. The Codeco militia, which claims to defend members of the Lendu community against the rival Hema community and against security forces, is considered one of the deadliest groups in eastern Congo. In addition to civilians and soldiers, Codeco militiamen also attack displaced persons and humanitarian workers.
Ituri and the neighboring province of North Kivu have been under a state of siege since May 6, 2021, a measure that has given full powers to army and police officers to manage the administration and wage war. against the hundreds of armed groups that have been raging in eastern Congo for more than a quarter of a century. After a year of state of siege, the authorities have failed to put an end to the massacres of civilians.