Fourteen civilians and one soldier were killed by militiamen on Monday evening in the Loda IDP camp in the northeastern DRC’s Ituri province, according to reports.
According to Jules Tsuba, head of an association of civil society groups in Djugu territory, the rebels beheaded most of the victims.
The Kivu Security Tracker (KST), a respected monitor of the violence in the region, said it suspected militants from an ethnic armed group called Codeco (Cooperative for the Development of Congo) of being behind the the attack.
The murders come just a day after a massacre at a gold mine. Local civil society leaders said around 50 people were killed in the gold mine massacre, but the Congolese government said the attack left 35 people dead.
According to Lieutenant Jules Ngongo, spokesman for the FARDC (Congolese army) in Ituri, the civilians died during clashes between two rebel groups, Zaire and Codeco.
“Two armed groups are fighting for control of the gold mine called Camp Blanquete. Unfortunately, in the course of their dirty work, some people were caught in the crossfire of these outlaws and several lost their lives and their huts were burnt down,” the FARDC statement read. “These armed groups use the peaceful population as human shields and operate even at night.”
The Codeco armed group claims to defend the Lendu community while the Zaire armed group claims to defend the Hema community. The two communities often clash in the province of Ituri.
Ituri province has become an area of high tension with rebel groups fighting each other since 2002. According to the UN, Ituri province has more than 1.7 million internally displaced people. country.
Ituri and neighboring North Kivu province have been ruled by security forces since May last year in an effort to stem attacks, but the killings continue.
– Additional report by AFP