DR Congo: militiamen kill 18 civilians inside a church

DR Congo: militiamen kill 18 civilians inside a church

Militiamen have killed 18 civilians who had sought refuge in a church compound in eastern Congo, a witness and a local human rights groups said on Wednesday.

The attack took place early on Tuesday in Banyali Kilo, a district in the conflict-riven Ituri province, as the victims slept in church outbuildings. They had fled there after escaping from previous attacks, the sources said.

A survivor, Augustin Kolo, was asleep with his family when he heard cries from outside.

“I quickly got up and woke up my wife and my two children to flee. This is how we were saved even as 18 of our brothers and sisters were killed,” he told Reuters.

“It hurts so much. We are doubly wounded since we first left our villages and then the CODECO followed us here,” he said, referring to a militia group that an army spokesman also blamed for the attack.

CODECO is one of many armed groups active in eastern Congo, where conflict over land and resources has spurred decades of violence.

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