Raiders killed at least 35 people in an attack on a gold mine in Ituri in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday.
Jean-Pierre Bikilisende, Mayor of the rural Mungwalu settlement in Djugu in northeast Ituri, said the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) militia had attacked the Camp Blanquette gold mine.
Bikilisende said 29 dead victims were retrieved, with another six burned bodies found buried at the site.
Bikilisende added that a 4-month-old baby had also died in the attack.
“These figures are provisional because there are other civilians whose corpses were thrown into mining holes, and several other civilians are reported missing. We are continuing the search for the missing,” Bikilisende said.
According to Bikilisende, Camp Blanquette was in a forest far from the nearest military outpost, so military forces came too late, and the CODECO militia had finished the attack.
Cherubin Kukundila, the leader of the Mugwalu civil society, said that at least 50 people had been killed in the raid.
“There are also several wounded, with nine very seriously injured and admitted into the Mungwalu general hospital,” Kukundila said.
CODECO is a religious sect-based armed group that claims to defend the interests of the Lendu community against the opposing Hema community and the Congo security authorities.
CODECO is also considered one of the deadliest militias operating in eastern Congo and is blamed for several ethnic massacres in the province of Ituri.
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