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Official, Human Rights Group: Militia Attacks Kill 22 in East DR Congo

North Kivu and Ituri DRC
North Kivu and Ituri DRC

Militiamen killed 22 people in two separate attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) Ituri province on Sunday and Monday, a local official and a human rights group said, in ongoing violence in the region.

The DRC's government declared martial law in Ituri and neighboring North Kivu province in 2021 to quell the bloodshed, but deadly raids have continued.

The first attack on Sunday took place in the town of Mongbwalu, in Djugu territory, where 10 people were killed.

Mongbwalu Mayor Jean-Pierre Bikilisende blamed the attack on CODECO, one of many militias operating in the DRC's conflict-ridden east. The group could not be reached for comment.

Bikilisende told Reuters the rebels opened fire on a phone credit seller and then on other civilians standing on the same street before escaping in a car when police arrived.

The second attack occurred around 60 kilometers (37 miles) away, in Irumu territory, during the night between Sunday and Monday.

Christophe Munyanderu, coordinator of the local group Convention for the Respect of Human Rights (CRDH), said 12 villagers were killed.

He said the attackers were from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group that has operated in east Congo for decades. It has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and stages frequent deadly raids on villages.

Munyanderu also confirmed the 10 deaths in Mongbwalu.

The ADF could not be reached for comment and the DRC's army did not respond to calls.

There was no indication as to the motive of either attack, but militia violence has racked the vast mineral-rich east for two decades despite local and regional military interventions and U.N. peacekeeping efforts.

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