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United Nations, Feb 14 – Dozens of civilians were killed in attacks by armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) over the weekend, a United Nations spokesman has said.
According to preliminary reports, the armed group CODECO killed at least 20 civilians on Sunday in DRC’s Ituri province and burnt several houses, said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
He added that the armed group reportedly also damaged medical infrastructure in a string of attacks against villages in Djugu territory, Xinhua news agency reported.
At the same time, another armed group, the ADF, attacked two villages in Irumu territory, which resulted in at least 12 civilians killed, Dujarric told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.
Citing reports by MONUSCO, the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, Dujarric also said that fighting continued between the Congolese army and the M23 rebel group, including around the Sake-Kitchanga axis and within the Virunga National Park in North Kivu province.
Last Friday, the M23 reportedly took control of Bukombo, 13 km northeast of Kitchanga, prompting population displacement toward Goma, the capital of the North Kivu province.
The UN peacekeeping mission continued its engagement in Goma with various communities and local leaders to discuss the security and humanitarian situation in the province, as well as anti-MONUSCO sentiments, which has hampered access to communities in need of immediate assistance, especially in areas around Kitchanga, Dujarric said.