Fifteen Congolese military killed in CODECO militia attack in Djugu

File – Soldiers of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a file image. – ALAIN UAYKANI / XINHUA NEWS / CONTACTOPHOTO

Fifteen soldiers of the Military Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo were killed this weekend in Djugu, Ituri province, in an attack attributed to the armed group Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO).

The soldiers were ambushed in the town of Djugu, in Ituri province, northeastern DRC, during which seven militiamen also lost their lives. This is the first time that the army has suffered such a heavy casualty since the province has been under siege, with several senior military personnel killed.

As reported by RFI channel, the soldiers were on combat patrols in the region and were on their way to reinforce a position that had been attacked hours before by CODECO militiamen when they were surprised by their fire from the top of the hills surrounding the national road number 27, about 50 kilometers north of Bunia.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the DRC, Bintou Keita, has condemned the attack and is «appalled by the high price that the Congolese people and security forces continue to pay» for the activity of armed groups in the region.

Attacks by Congolese militias have increased since the beginning of the month. Last week, the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) reported an attack by CODECO on a refugee camp in Savo, Ituri province, which has left seven people dead. In fact, this attack followed the discovery of the bodies of more than fifty civilians in several mass graves in Ituri, after several attacks perpetuated that weekend.