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UN soldiers discover mass graves in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

UN soldiers found mass graves with 49 dead civilians in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. UN spokesman Farhan Haq said yesterday that 12 women and six children were among the dead. Soldiers discovered the graves in the villages of Nyamba and Mbuji during a patrol in Ituri district after reported attacks by suspected Kodiko militia there.

Haq called for an investigation to find out if there was a link between the attacks and the mass graves. He stressed that the United Nations Mission (MONUSCO) supports “the Congolese judicial system in investigating the attacks and demands that the perpetrators be held accountable.”

In Ituri, on the border with Uganda, there have been frequent attacks by the Codeco militia in recent weeks. The militia is an armed political-religious sect that claims to defend the interests of the Lendu ethnic group. The group is considered the most violent in the region and is responsible for many attacks.

More than 80 civilians have been killed in the province since early January, according to rights activist Dieudonne Lussa. UN spokesman Haq warned of a “significant deterioration in the security situation” in the region.

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