DR Congo army kills eastern rebel chief

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The Democratic Republic of Congo military has killed a rebel commander accused of a massacre of dozens of civilians in the restive eastern province of Ituri, the army said on Friday.

The army on Thursday had said the commander of the CODECO militia — one of scores of armed groups operating in the region — had been wounded and several of his bodyguards killed.

“On March 25, Ngudjolo, the radical commander… in Ituri, was definitively neutralised by the army with ten of his men,” army spokesman Leon-Richard Kasonga told reporters.

Troops had came under attack in the district of Djugu, from a convoy of Ngudjolo’s fighters.

CODECO — whose official name is Cooperative for the Development of Congo — is an armed political-religious sect in Ituri drawn from the Lendu ethnic group.

Conflict erupted between the Lendu, mainly farmers, and the Hema, herders and traders, in the gold-mining and oil-rich Ituri province between 1999 to 2003, killing tens of thousands.

According to the UN, most victims were targeted because they were Hema.

The conflict reignited and more than 700 people have been killed in Ituri since late 2017, a UN report said in January, adding that some of deaths might constitute a “crime against humanity.”

More than half a million people have been displaced by the violence since February 2018, the report said.

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