Along the shores of Lake Albert, 42 people were killed in three villages in a single day last month, less than an hour after the Congolese military had finished patrolling the nearby waters, according to survivors, who blame the army for failing to protect them.
According to a report released Wednesday by the United Nations peacekeeping mission, Congolese security forces responded to only 10 of 70 attacks between February and mid-March.
The situation in the area has grown calmer, at least for the moment.
Etienne Unega Ege, Ituri’s interior minister, said on Thursday that the security forces had stabilized the area, and officials are encouraging people to leave the displacement camps.
But few of the displaced feel safe enough to go home.
Singo Lodja, 54, living in Bunia’s biggest displacement camp, said he was worried that the attackers were still armed. “We can’t go back,” he said.
Jean Bosco Lalo, a civil society leader in Ituri, said that as long as the killers and their motives remain unknown, Ituri will remain on edge.
“The people are hopeless,” he said.