While patrolling along the Ituri River in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), soldiers discovered at least 17 decomposing bodies on Thursday (May 26th). Among them, decapitated bodies.

These corpses arehardly identifiable “due to the state of the bodies”, Dieudonn√© Malangay, a member of civil society in the chiefdom of Walese Vonkutu, told AFP on Friday. They were found for some people “in a canoe and others (…) in the bush, right next to the river” in the territory of Irumu.

A branch of IS suspected

Pending the results of the expertise, this local source assumes that it iscivilians taken hostage who were killed by ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) rebels”, a group presented by the jihadist organization Islamic State as its branch in central Africa. The bloody attacks carried out by ADF are frequent in Ituri, a province where violence between Hema and Lendu ethnic groups is numerous for over twenty years.

In the territory of Djugu, 130 kilometers further north, at least nine people were also killed Thursday, May 26, said Pilo Mulindo, head of chiefdom and Charity Banza, president of the local civil society, to AFP. Militiamen from the armed group the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (Codeco) are suspected. Structured around a religious sect that claims to defend the Lendu, Codeco is considered as one of the deadliest armed groups in the eastern part of the DRC.

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