Militants armed with guns and machetes killed at least 15 people and injured four on Tuesday in an early morning raid on a village in Congo’s eastern Ituri province, according to local authorities.
Attackers stormed the village of Syeri Aberkozo just before dawn, hacking residents with machetes and setting several buildings ablaze, sector chief Innocent Matukadala said.
“We have a death toll of 15 persons killed, and four people wounded,” he said. “Two of the injured are in critical states, and we don’t know if God will allow their survival.”
Matukadala and witnesses blamed the attack on the CODECO militia, which earlier this month killed 60 residents of a displaced persons camp elsewhere in the Ituri province, according to a local humanitarian group and a camp resident.
CODECO is one of several militant groups active in eastern Congo, where frictions over land and resources have spurred decades of violence.
Its fighters have killed hundreds of civilians and displaced thousands more, and in recent months have attacked camps for those displaced by its own attacks, according to the United Nations.
Maki Kilota Gale, a farmer from a village neighbouring Syeri Aberkozo, was shot in the foot while fleeing Tuesday’s attack, after having lost several family members in other recent raids, he said.
“I wanted to go to my field very early, but halfway there I heard gunshots and immediately started to flee, and that’s when I was shot,” he told Reuters.
“We don’t know why these CODECO militiamen are attacking us,” he added. “I wanted to die this morning.”
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