A Surge in Violence Puts Eastern Congo Back on Edge

A Surge in Violence Puts Eastern Congo Back on Edge
Two U.N. soldiers stand guard in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nov. 30, 2012 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.

Violence is escalating once again in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri province, a region long beset by militant groups and intercommunal conflict. The United Nations reported that an ethnic militia operating in the northeastern province might have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity beginning late last year. Meanwhile, another rebel group slaughtered dozens of civilians in a series of raids this week.

Between disease outbreaks and inter-ethnic clashes, the mineral-rich province has been a flashpoint for decades. But starting in November, a militia drawn mostly from the ethnic Lendu community has been responsible for a new surge of violence, as documented by a U.N. report released this week. The report accuses the group—known as the Cooperative for the Development of Congo, or CODECO—of waging a six-month campaign of killings, beheadings and rapes, mainly against rival ethnic groups, primarily the Hema. Nearly 300 people have been killed and 151 wounded in attacks that may have constituted war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to the authors of the report.

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