Congo: Army Launches 'Ituri Storm' on Deadly Militia

Congo's armed forces are getting ready for 'Operation Ituri Storm' which was launched in a northeastern eastern province against a militia blamed for killing scores of civilians and forcing thousands from their homes.

Ituri Storm "Zaruba ya Ituri" aims to carry the fight into the forest stronghold of a military-religious sect named the Cooperative for the Development of the Congo, or Codeco, recruited among the Lendu, an ethnic farming community, according to AFP.

On the other hand, a mysterious official revealed that the armed group has killed more than 160 people in Ituri province in June alone and forced about 300,000 civilians to flee.

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Soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) sit in a truck bed in a base on July 3, 2019 in Djugu, eastern DR Congo. John WESSELS / AFP

Soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) sit in a truck bed in a base on July 3, 2019 in Djugu, eastern DR Congo. John WESSELS / AFP

For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP

For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP

For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP

For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP

For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP

For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP

A soldier of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) warms himself by the fire inside a base on July 4, 2019 in Djugu, eastern DR Congo. John WESSELS / AFP

A soldier of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) warms himself by the fire inside a base on July 4, 2019 in Djugu, eastern DR Congo. John WESSELS / AFP

For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP

For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP

Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300 000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP

Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300 000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP

Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300 000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP

Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300 000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP

Soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) sit in a truck bed in a base on July 3, 2019 in Djugu, eastern DR Congo. John WESSELS / AFP
For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
A soldier of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) warms himself by the fire inside a base on July 4, 2019 in Djugu, eastern DR Congo. John WESSELS / AFP
For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300 000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300 000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
Soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) sit in a truck bed in a base on July 3, 2019 in Djugu, eastern DR Congo. John WESSELS / AFP
Soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) sit in a truck bed in a base on July 3, 2019 in Djugu, eastern DR Congo. John WESSELS / AFP
For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
A soldier of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) warms himself by the fire inside a base on July 4, 2019 in Djugu, eastern DR Congo. John WESSELS / AFP
A soldier of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) warms himself by the fire inside a base on July 4, 2019 in Djugu, eastern DR Congo. John WESSELS / AFP
For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
For the last three weeks the FARDC have been fighting in an offensive operation against a militia in the Wago Forest in the Djugu district of Ituria Province. Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300,000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300 000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300 000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300 000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP
Attacks by this militia and inter-communal fighting between the Lendu and Hema communities have displaced over 300 000 people so far. John WESSELS / AFP