Photo: The UN’s Blue Helmets
UN peacekeepers find mass graves in Eastern DR Congo
The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) on Thursday announced that they had found mass graves containing 49 bodies in the region.
MONUSCO attributed the killings to an ethnic militia group, adding that forty-two bodies, including 12 women and six children, were found buried in the village of Nyamamba, in Ituri province.
Announcing the discovery on Twitter, MONUSCO said that it had launched a patrol in the area over the weekend after hearing about attacks.
It added that the bodies of seven men were found in the village of Mbogi, about 30 km (19 miles) east of the provincial capital Bunia.
It said, “MONUSCO strongly condemns these barbaric and cowardly killings attributed to CODECO.
“CODECO is one of dozens of militias operating in eastern Congo.
“Its ranks are drawn mainly from the ethnic Lendu farming community, which carries out regular attacks on Hema herders in Ituri province.
The U.N. mission said at least 195 civilians were killed and 84 kidnapped in attacks attributed to CODECO and a rival militia called Zaire since the start of December.
It said that the attacks had increased the number of displaced people in Ituri province to more than 1.5 million.
According to Reuters, Congo’s government spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
CODECO, which is split into factions and operates in remote areas, does not have a spokesperson and could not be reached for comment.