Sunday’s attack on a mining camp outside the town of Mongwalu in the eastern Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo resulted in the deaths of dozens of people and the disappearances of many others, according to three civil society leaders.
Jules Ngongo Tsikudi, a spokesperson for the army, said that a devastating incident had occurred at a mining camp near Mongwalu, but did not specify the number of casualties.
“We will know the actual number of fatalities in the coming hours,” Tsikudi added late Sunday. “The army is working around the clock to eradicate all armed organisations in Ituri.”
According to estimates by civil society representatives, between 30 and 50 people were slain. One reported that the amount of victims had swamped the local hospital.
The leader of a coalition of civil society groups in Ituri, Dieudonné Lossa, attributed the killings to the CODECO militia, which has a history for assaulting civilian encampments.
Authorities report that its fighters killed 18 people in a church last month and another 60 in a camp for displaced persons in February. read further
Sunday, Shauntv was unable to contact the organisation for comment.
Lossa stated, “The authorities were informed since rumours were already spreading, but catastrophe ensued.”
In the eastern provinces of the Congo, where groups like CODECO and other armed militias, as well as a local Islamic State offshoot, constantly battle for territory and resources, attacks on people are a daily threat.
According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, such conflicts have claimed the lives of thousands and displaced millions more since the turn of the century.
This month commemorates one year since the Congolese government declared martial law in the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu to suppress the bloodshed. The Kivu Security Tracker, which tracks regional conflict, reports that since then, the number of lethal incursions has only risen.