Rebels attack a gold mine in eastern Congo, killing at least 12 people


At least a dozen people have been killed and 16 others kidnapped by rebels at a mining site in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a civil society organization said Thursday.

Rebels from the CODECO armed group attacked a gold mine on Wednesday near the Djugu district of Ituri province, said Vital Tungulo, director of Mabendi, a local rights group. “We are outraged by this enemy attack,” he said.

Violence has intensified in eastern DRC, where conflicts have erupted for decades. More than 120 armed groups clash in the region, most over land and control of mines containing valuable minerals, while some groups try to protect their communities.

CODECO is an informal association of militia groups drawn primarily from the Lendu ethnic farming community. Since 2017, she has been fighting with Zaire, a self-defense group drawn mainly from the Hema ethnic herding community.

CODECO attacks killed nearly 1,800 people and injured more than 500 in the four years to 2022, according to the African Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism.

CODECO is known for targeting areas rich in gold and minerals. In September, its fighters attacked a village in Ituri province, killing 14 people.

Congo has some of the world’s largest deposits of rare earth minerals, such as cobalt and copper, which are in high demand for the manufacture of electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels.

On Thursday, military commander Yves Kadjena said he was disappointed by the attack, especially since CODECO signed a peace treaty with other militias at the end of January, pledging to stop fighting and to free the hostages.

Commander Kadjena said the army was taking steps to end the violence.


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