BENI, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) – Unidentified militiamen killed at least 13 people in an overnight attack on a gold quarry in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, an army spokesperson and a civil society leader said.
The attack took place late on Monday at the privately owned Shaba mining quarry in Aru territory, near the Ugandan border in Ituri province, said Dieudonne Lossa, president of Ituri province civil society.
Thirteen people were killed, nine seriously injured and several others taken hostage by the attackers to transport their stolen gold and other goods, Lossa told Reuters.
He said that two armed groups are active in the area: the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo (CODECO), and a rival militia called Zaire. They are among dozens of militias operating in Congo’s conflict-ridden east.
Lossa previously blamed CODECO, which claims to defend the interests of Lendu farmers against Hema herders, for a separate attack that killed at least 14 people in a church in Ituri province on Sunday.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for either attack and representatives of CODECO and Zaire could not be reached for comment.
Ituri army spokesperson Jules Ngongo Tshikudi put the death toll at 14 for the attack on the quarry and did not say who was responsible.
“Operations are underway in this area to put an end to the adventure of these armed men who sow desolation and terror in this border zone with Uganda,” he said.
(Reporting by Erikas Mwisi Kambale; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Peter Graff)