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DRC Crisis: Civilians Flee as Army Abandons Them After CODECO Rebels Raid Bunia

A couple of months ago CODECO rebels entered Bunia unhindered, marched to the central prison and released hundreds of their comrades. The chaos in and around Bunia points to the complete collapse of any state authority throughout Ituri province and in the east of the DRC
posted onOctober 27, 2020
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KAMPALA. Helpless civilians have fled Bunia town after rebel forces entered the capital of Ituri province in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Reports from credible sources on the ground indicate that the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), the state organization responsible for defending the civilians has also fled the town, abandoning the civilians.

The Kampala Post has seen footage from some of our sources in Bunia that show civilians fleeing the town. For a number of months now, Bunia has been bedeviled by a number of rebel groups that attack and torment the civilians. The rebel groups include Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO), Patriotic Forces, and Integrationists of Congo (FPIC) that is comprised of the Barega tribe and the Babiira community.

A couple of months ago CODECO rebels entered Bunia unhindered, marched to the central prison and released hundreds of their detained comrades. The chaos in and around Bunia points to the complete collapse of any State authority throughout Ituri province and in the east of the DRC.

Last month the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) reinforced security in West Nile following the volatile situation in the Ituri region of the DRC.

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Highly placed sources familiar with the reinforcement said the UPDF was on increased alert after the attack on some military positions in Zombo by Lendu militias of CODECO in March of this year. The deployment of more UPDF troops was to ensure that Uganda is secure from any security threats.

CODECO is an armed group that has been carrying out attacks in the DRC province of Ituri.

CODECO is drawn from the Lendu ethnic group, a predominantly farming community who have historically clashed with the Hema, a group of traders and herders.

RELATED: Regional Leaders Discuss Threat of Insecurity in Eastern DRC

Regional leaders discuss threat

Earlier this month, President Yoweri Museveni joined counterparts, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, DR Congo’s Felix Tshisekedi and Angola’s Joao Lourenço for a virtual mini-summit, which largely discussed security issues in the region, usually complicated by tensions in the eastern Congo.

The summit called by President Tshisekedi had been initially scheduled to take place in September in the DR Congo city of Goma but the plan fell through with the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. Burundi had been invited to the discussions but opted out citing lack of preparedness.

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