What you need to know:
- Lawmakers are hoping to see the firepower of the joint military operation between the UPDF and the FARDC.
- Armed groups have killed at least 1,200 across Ituri province in 2021, causing thousands to flee. Aid groups have been suspended in the area.
Congolese lawmakers from the troubled Ituri province are demanding for an expanded military offensive between Uganda and the DRC forces to help tame a cycle of massacres.
In a statement, the Ituri parliamentarians expressed their dismay at the massacres perpetrated by CODECO militiamen on Tuesday night this week with a heavy human toll of at least 55 killed and 40 others seriously injured.
Lawmakers are hoping to see the firepower of the joint military operation between the UPDF and the FARDC in Ituri, which is adjacent to the North Kivu province where the two countries launched an operation against Allied Democratic Forces, a terrorist group with origins in Uganda.
The operation, launched in North Kivu in eastern DRC on 30 November 2021, is expected to take place in Ituri, but that is until the two countries agree on how to expand and modalities on troop contribution and movement.
Ituri in eastern Congo has been battered by the merchants of terror who have been targeting thousands of people already displaced by previous violence. The province is about four times the size of Rwanda but has fallen among armed gangs who have killed and maimed without break.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has already announced the imminent start of the hunt for the ADF and other terrorists in Ituri, effectively expanding his reach into the mostly insecure eastern DRC, and which could also cement ties between Kampala and Kinshasa. The Ugandan president made this statement on Sunday 30 January while receiving a Congolese delegation led by Gilbert Kabanda, the Minister for Defence.
For the Ituri lawmakers, the multiple bloody attacks against the displaced people of the wars constitutes “a crime against humanity and genocide.” The legislators caucus asked the UN to "classify the CODECO militia on the blacklist, in the same way as other terrorist organisations throughout the world.”
"We reiterate once again our unceasing demand for a change in the chain of command of operations in Ituri," the Ituri parliamentarians' statement said.
Armed groups have killed at least 1,200 across Ituri province in 2021, causing thousands to flee. Aid groups have been suspended in the area.