Fighters of a militia group attacked a village in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, setting off a battle that killed 14 people, the army says, in the latest bloodshed in the country’s restive east.
Colonel Mapela Mviniama said on Monday armed men from the CODECO (Cooperative pour le Developpement du Congo) militia assaulted Gobu village on Sunday evening, killing nine civilians and one Congolese soldier.
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Four attackers also died in the fighting, while two soldiers and two civilians were wounded, he said.
Violence has been surging across the eastern DRC, where conflict has flared for decades. More than 120 armed groups are fighting in the region, most for land and control of mines with valuable minerals, while some groups are trying to protect their communities.
CODECO, a loose association of ethnic Lendu militia groups, has been fighting with Zaire, a mainly ethnic Hema self-defence group since 2017. According to the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism, CODECO attacks killed nearly 1,800 people and wounded more than 500 in the four years through 2022.
The United Nations says the militia has expanded in recent months.
In June, CODECO fighters killed 45 civilians in DRC’s Ituri province. CODECO and other groups have killed more than 100 people in the last month in the neighbouring Nord Kivu and Ituri provinces, local civil society leader Kinos Katuo said.