RDC: CODECO behind a massacre this Sunday in the Ituri province

At least 107 bodies were found following the attack, yesterday and today, of the villages of Drodro, Largu and surroundings, in the province of Ituri, by militiamen of CODECO. The vast majority of the dead are civilians” (Ekipe, 22.11.2021).

Drodro (Ituri): the FARDC who had fled when the CODECO militiamen attacked yesterday Sunday finally returned to the locality on Monday, after the militiamen withdrew. The toll of this attack remains to be confirmed, but could be high” (LUCHA, 22.11.2021).

The CODECO isn’t the most known militia or guerrilla operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Kivu Security Blog has written this about CODECO for everyone who doesn’t know their history:

CODECO is essentially active in Djugu, a territory of Ituri province long-scarred by community-based violence and tensions, effectively between the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups. This can be traced back to colonial times: steeped in racialist theories, the Belgian authorities supported the Hema community, whom they considered to be superior at the time, and who were mostly comprised of farmers (see the report “Violence and Instability in Ituri” by the GIC network), often to the detriment of the Lendu community, which is one of the largest of the province (just over 25% according to some estimates)” (…) “According to Floribert Njabu, the moral authority of the FNI, who was able to enter into dialogue with the CODECO militia in 2020, members of CODECO present their movement as “an army, a church, and a company” all at the same time” (…) “CODECO militia members do not clearly articulate their political demands, apart from their right to fight against the “harassment” by the FARDC who they accuse of having been “infiltrated” by foreigners, according to Floribert Njabu. Incidents caused by CODECO are not limited, however, to attacks against the FARDC: they have also committed many killings, particularly of Hema civilians” (Kivu Security Tracker – ‘In Ituri Province, the FARDC are Unable to Distinguish CODECO Militias from Civilians’ 15.11.2021).

So, now the CODECO have killed even more people in the Ituri region. This is clear now that they are continuing their rampage in the region. As the CODECO is settling the scores of old in the territory. This might be another one where the CODECO is targeting the Hema population in the Djugu territory of the Ituri region.

This is very tragic and the KST have registered 133 violent incidents between 1st April 2021 to the October 13th 2021. That is this year alone, but not since their inception and that should be worrying. The FARDC cannot run away from the region and return when the massacre is over. That is what happened this weekend.

Ituri region is one of the regions under State of Emergency and still the FARDC isn’t safeguarding the general public. That is a tragic result and so many innocent civilians lost their lives this weekend.

After this massacre, the CODECO should be known like M23 or any other guerrilla being active in the DRC. Peace.

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