At least 30 civilians killed in attack on village in eastern Congo

BENI, DRC (Reuters) – Suspected militants killed at least 30 civilians in a raid on a village in the northeastern province of Ituri in the DRC on Friday, the head of a civil society group and a local resident said.

Army spokesman Jules Ngongo Tshikudi confirmed the morning’s attack in Banyali Kilo, a district in conflict-torn Ituri, but said no casualties as the armed forces were still searching the area.

“They set fire to several houses, looted property… and killed about 30 people, both men and women,” said local civil society leader Charite Banza.

Banyali Kilo resident Jean Basilake said children were among the 35 people whose bodies had been counted so far.

He, Banza and Tshikudi blamed members of the CODECO group, one of several dozen armed militias who have been destabilizing Congo’s densely forested eastern territory.

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The government declared a state of siege in Ituri and neighboring North Kivu province in 2021 to stem rampant militia violence in the country’s vast, mineral-rich east. But the killings and rebel activity have shown no sign of abating.

(Reporting by Erikas Mwisi Kambale; Writing by Anait Miridzhanian and Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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