Militiamen attacked a camp for people fleeing violence in Congo’s eastern Ituri province overnight, killing at least 60 people staying at the shelter, local officials said Wednesday.
Fighters with the group known as CODECO arrived at the Plaine Savo displaced persons site in Djugu and killed dozens of people using machetes and other weapons, said Ndalo Budz, who is the head of the camp.
“We currently have 60 people in the shelters for the displaced who were killed with machetes and other edged weapons,” he said to local press.
Local administrative officials confirmed the account.
Four people have been brought to the hospital, according to Pilo Mulindo, the head of the chiefdom of Bahema N’adhere.
The CODECO militia and the Allied Democratic Forces are active in the eastern Congo region and killed dozens last year. The violence has caused the suspension of humanitarian agencies in this part of Congo.
Congo’s army on Wednesday condemned the CODECO militiamen for attacking civilians displaced by war and denounced their action as crimes against humanity.
Army spokesman Jules Ngongo sought to assure people that the army would pursue and punish the perpetrators.
“We condemn this criminal, terrorist act to attack the displaced where there is an innocent civilian population who has no means of defense, it is worse than madness and cowardice and it is a crime against humanity. These perpetrators will be severely punished,” he said.
The security situation remains worrying in several villages in the territory of Djugu, where civilians have been killed by CODECO rebels despite joint operations by the Ugandan army and Congo.