In the northeastern province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UN peacekeepers discovered mass graves with the bodies of 49 people. The patrols were launched after reports of attacks by the armed group CODECO on the civilian population of the country.
Farhan Haq, a UN deputy spokesman, told reporters in New York on Wednesday that the graves had been discovered in two villages in the northeastern Ituri province, about 30 kilometers east of the city of Bunia. A total of 42 victims, including six children, were discovered in a mass grave in the village of Nyamamba, while the bodies of seven other men were found in another village, Mbogi.
– Peacekeepers began patrolling the area immediately after receiving reports of CODECO militia attacks on civilians over the weekend. That’s when they made the gruesome discoveries,” Haq said, referring to an armed group known as the Congo Development Community. The UN is calling for an investigation to determine whether the mass graves and the CODECO attacks were linked.
A wave of violence in Ituri province
Ituri, a troubled province bordering Uganda, has experienced a wave of violence in recent weeks after the killing of a teacher belonging to the Lendu community sparked retaliatory attacks from CODECO, which it claims to represent.
Haq warned on Wednesday of a “significant deterioration in security” in Ituri, saying that at least 195 civilians had been killed, 68 wounded and 84 people abducted since December in attacks attributed to CODECO militias.
He added that more than 1.5 million people in the province had already been displaced by the fighting.
Main photo source: ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP/EastNews