Four countries including Rwanda asked to discuss the Ituri massacre

By Elina Jonas Ruzindaza
On 18 July 2020 at 11:12

Report from the International Crisis Group (ICG), released on Wednesday, called for a joint meeting of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Uganda, and Angola to study the security situation in Ituri Province.

Since the beginning of March this year, about 300 people have been killed in Ituri as a result of ongoing violence. More than 4,000 people have been tortured since 2017.

CODECO, known as the religious-political party operating in Ituri, founded by the Balendu tribe, is the main culprit accused in the ongoing Ituri massacre.

It all comes due to the conflict between Balendu who are farmers and the Bahema who are breeders and traders who have been in this area rich in gold and petrol for a long time.

ICG has indicated that the Balendu fighters have continued to gain power and the Balendu have continued their campaign activities among their youth as the attacks continue.

The ICG also said that members of militant groups such as the M23, mostly are in Uganda, also wanted to mourn the ethnic conflict in Ituri and North Kivu, to join the fighting.

He called on President Tshisekedi to put the Ituri conflict on the agenda of a meeting between Angola, Uganda, the DRC, and Rwanda.

"Uganda and Rwanda can use this forum to discuss allegations of support for militant groups in eastern Congo, including Ituri, and to put to an end that support," the ICG said.

The President of Angola, João Lourenço, Félix Tshisekedi of the DRC are the coordinators to the summit that discuss the problem between Rwanda-Uganda. The ICG wants the issue of Ituri to be discussed at the meeting.

It is a matter of Rwanda’s allegation that Uganda is abusing Rwandans, illegally imprisoned and subjected to torture; that Uganda supports armed groups aimed at disrupting Rwanda’s security and threatening its trade.

Since the election of President Tshisekedi, Rwanda and Uganda, as well as other countries in the region, have pledged to work for lasting peace in the DRC, especially in the eastern part of the country, where FDLR factions operate.

The Ituri issue continues to escalate and rise to the occasion. Deputies in the DRC Parliament have expressed concern over a large number of weapons in the hands of civilians living in Ituri Province.

The issue of insecurity and weapons in the Ituri community was recently raised by MPs representing the province when they met with Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga on July 13.

Ituri province is prone to insecurity mainly due to militant groups including CODECO and the ADF who have recently killed 27 others and taken more than 45 hostages.

The Governor of the Ituri Province in the Northern Democratic Republic of Congo, Jean Bamanisa Saidi, has compared the years-long killings in the region to the Genocide.

Between 1999 and 2003, thousands of people lost their lives in the conflict and most of them were Bahima, according to the United Nations.

Joint meeting of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, and Angola to study the security situation in Ituri Province