42 civilian dead were found in mass graves in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to a UN official on Wednesday.
According to Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the fatalities, who included 12 women and six children, were found in the village of Nyamamba in the Ituri province, roughly 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) east of the provincial center Bunia.
In the same province’s town of Mbogi, peacekeepers discovered another burial containing the remains of seven males.
According to Haq, the graves were found after MONUSCO, the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, conducted investigations in response to reports that Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) rebel group militants had attacked local civilians over the weekend. He added that “this is when they made the gruesome discoveries.”
The UN mission demanded that those responsible for the attacks be brought to justice and pledged to assist the Congolese judicial system in conducting an investigation.
“These incidents occurred amidst a significant deterioration of the security situation in Djugu and Mahagi territories,” Haq said.
The UN reports that since December 2022, at least 195 civilians have died, 68 have been hurt, and 84 more have been kidnapped amid a number of incidents blamed on CODECO and Zaire armed groups.
More than 1.5 million people are now displaced in Ituri as a result of recent attacks, which have also made it harder for aid workers to reach those in need.
Last year, CODECO, a group claiming to represent the Lendu community, was charged with holding captive peace envoys sent by President Felix Tshisekedi to Ituri to negotiate a cease-fire and the demobilisation of militia members.
A large-scale slaughter last year that was blamed on CODECO fighters resulted in 62 deaths during an attack on a camp for displaced people.
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