KINSHASA, May 10 (Xinhua) -- At least 15 asylum seekers were killed late Monday in a new attack by militiamen of the rebel group "Congo Economic Development Cooperative" (CODECO) in a camp for displaced people (IDP) in the Djugu territory of the Ituri province, in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to local sources.
According to local civil society leader Dieudonne Lossa, the victims are mostly children in an IDP camp located in the locality of Lodda, which accommodates asylum seekers fleeing violence in the surrounding villages.
Rebels of CODECO early Sunday raided a village around a mining site in Blankete, also located in the Djugu territory, killing at least 55 civilians, according to local government officials, noting that about a hundred civilians were missing.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned Sunday's attack while calling on the DRC authorities to investigate the incidents, bring those responsible to justice, and ensure the peacekeeping mission's immediate access to the area "to facilitate efforts to protect civilians."
"The Secretary-General further calls on all armed groups in the DRC to cease their ruthless attacks on civilians, to participate unconditionally in the political process, including regional initiatives, and to lay down their arms," Guterres' spokesman said.
The provinces of Ituri and North Kivu have been placed under the state of siege since May 2021 to counter the rise in violence by armed groups. ■