2 Decades Behind Bars
Fifteen militiamen have been sentenced to twenty years in prison, introduced the Congolese army court stated Wednesday, for their participation in a political uprising in Ituri in the northeastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2019. One militiaman was once acquitted for lack of evidence, army prosecutor Major Vicky Lopombo informed KnowAfrika.
Claudine Makusi, a girl sufferer of the militiamen, expresses her wishes, “We ask these who are acquitted to tell those who collaborated with the militia to disassociate themselves so that the entirety that is going on in Djugu stops and that the violence clearly stops.”
Thirteen of the condemned are of the ethnic-mystical sect Cooperative for the Development of Congo (Codeco) while the other two are members of the Patriotic Integrationist Forces of Congo (FPIC).
Active in the territory of Djugu, placed in the north of Bunia, the provincial capital of Ituri, members of the Codeco crew claim to shield participants of the Lendu community.
Since December 2017, according to a political evaluation file published this month by the International Crisis Group, the violence in Ituri province given that December 2017, has left almost 1,000 human beings lifeless and half a million displaced.
These are “crimes against humanity” according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.
Between 1999 and 2003, the Ituri region had been ravaged by a conflict between militias from the two communities, Lendu and Hema, which was exploited by neighbouring Uganda.
The violence in Ituri is one of the many conflicts that are tearing eastern DRC apart, in addition to the conflicts in the two neighbouring provinces of North and South Kivu.