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BUNIA: A military court jailed 15 militia members for 20 years for "participation in an insurrectionist group" in Ituri province, northeast Democratic Republic of Congo, a court official said Wednesday.

All but two were said to be members of a group named the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO), prosecutor Major Vicky Lopombo told AFP.

CODECO is drawn from the Lendu ethnic group, a predominantly farming community who have historically clashed with the Hema, a group of traders and herders.

Since December 2017, violence in Ituri province has claimed nearly 1,000 lives and displaced half a million people, according to an International Crisis Group report this month.

Violence has escalated since the army launched a crackdown on armed groups in the troubled east of the country in October.

Eastern DR Congo has been unstable for a quarter of a century, its population terrorised by militia groups that are chiefly the legacy of two major wars.