UN Discovers at Least 49 Bodies in DR Congo's Mass Graves

The United Nations said on Wednesday that at least 49 bodies, including those of six children, had been discovered in mass graves found in two villages of the Democratic Republic of Congo's restive Ituri province, near the border with Uganda.

UN Discovers at Least 49 Bodies in DR Congo's Mass Graves
Image credit: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]

Facts

  • The United Nations said on Wednesday that at least 49 bodies, including those of six children, had been discovered in mass graves found in two villages of the Democratic Republic of Congo's restive Ituri province, near the border with Uganda.
  • The macabre discovery came as MONUSCO peacekeepers launched a patrol to the area, shortly after receiving reports that the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) militias had carried out attacks on civilians over the weekend and abducted a number of women.
  • According to UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq, the international body has urged for an investigation to establish whether the mass graves were linked to the attacks.
  • The security situation in the province has been deteriorating since the murder of a Lendu community teacher — at least 195 civilians have been killed, 68 injured, and 84 kidnapped in conflicts between the CODECO and Zaire militias since last December.
  • Seven CODECO factions announced an end to violence against civilians in Ituri last June, mainly in the Djugu territory where they were active, but attacks have gradually resumed in the area from which more than 1.5M people have been displaced by fighting.
  • On Thursday, local civil society representative Desire Malodra stated that the CODECO had "killed, burned, and pillaged" the Plaine Savo camp for displaced people in Ituri province after seven bodies were found, including five children, prompting protests against peacekeepers.

Sources: DW, Associated Press, Al Jazeera, Daily Guardian, Africa, and VOA Africa.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Peace Keeping. This discovery shows once again the importance of the cooperation between UN peacekeepers and Congolese forces. Despite being under fire as violence persists, joint efforts are crucial to protect civilians in the country, as well as halting and mitigating the impact of attacks from the CODECO militia against internally displaced people.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Africa Report. After more than two decades in the DRC, the UN mission in the region has prompted popular anger for its inability to tackle armed groups or bring peace to the country, particularly due to the resurgence of the M23 rebel group and the persistence of killings in Ituri. Deployment of 14K troops and spending of about $1.5B each year has resulted in failure.

Predictions