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Hundreds Said Killed in Congo Clashes
Yahoo! News ^ | 3/1/03 | Rodrique Ngowi - AP

Posted on 03/01/2003 10:33:43 AM PST by NormsRevenge

KIGALI, Rwanda -

Hundreds of civilians were killed and hundreds more were missing after Congolese rebels allied with the government seized a key town in northeastern Congo and launched a two-day campaign of murder, rape, looting and destruction, a rival rebel leader said Saturday.

Thomas Lubanga, head of the Union of Congolese Patriots, or UPC, said at least 400 people were killed on Feb. 24-25 and 500 were missing after his troops were pushed from the strategic town of Bogoro during an attack by the rebel Congolese Rally for Democracy-Liberation Movement, or RCD-ML, and allied Lendu tribal militiamen. Both groups receive aid from the government of President Joseph Kabila.

There was no way to independently verify the claim; the U.N. mission to Congo, or MONUC, which is aware of the reported killings, said the area is too dangerous for its unarmed military observers to investigate.

"We know there has been fighting going on in that area over the past few days," Col. Tim Watts, chief of staff of U.N. forces in Congo, told The Associated Press from the capital, Kinshasa. "Security in the region is fragile, and the situation is becoming more tense, even in Bunia."

The alleged perpetrators of the massacre could not be found to comment.

Some 47 girls, including some as young as 12 years, were raped by RCD-ML fighters and their Lendu allies before the assailants set fire to houses in the trading center, Lubanga said by telephone from his headquarters in Bunia, capital of restive Ituri province.

The assailants, who are camped about three miles outside Bogoro, want to cut Bunia off from the border with neighboring Uganda and prevent the flow of supplies to destabilize the UPC's grip on power, Lubanga said.

Bogoro lies 25 miles southwest of Bunia on a key road linking the town to Uganda — the region's main source of goods.

"What happened was a criminal act of unimaginable proportions, and the U.N. should come to investigate and bring perpetrators to justice," Lubanga said.

The assailants came from Geti, an area controlled by Lendu tribal militia and RCD-ML rebels whose army is now aided by the Congolese government forces after the two sides became allies in April, Lubanga said.

The UPC — dominated by Hemas, the traditional rivals of the Lendus — has forged an alliance with the main rebel group, the Rwandan-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy, or RCD, after its relations with Ugandan troops, its former allies, soured.

The alliance angered Ugandan authorities whose relations with Rwanda were already thorny after both countries traded charges of training each other's insurgents.

While Kabila's government and key rebel movements signed a power-sharing deal in December to end a 4 1/2-year civil war, continued fighting among rival rebel factions and tribal militias in the northeast is threatening prospects for peace.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: africawatch; clashes; congo; hundreds; kabila; killed; munoc; rwanda

1 posted on 03/01/2003 10:33:43 AM PST by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge
Where is Kofi Anus?
2 posted on 03/01/2003 10:54:59 AM PST by sheik yerbouty
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To: sheik yerbouty
Jesse Jackson plans to disrupt the genocidal American pasttime of golf at the Masters Tournament but you will never hear him speak out against his people in the Congo!
3 posted on 03/01/2003 11:20:30 AM PST by CROSSHIGHWAYMAN
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To: *AfricaWatch
4 posted on 03/01/2003 11:24:40 AM PST by Libertarianize the GOP (Ideas have consequences)
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There's no money in it. He's a race racketeer. Why isn't he subject to the RICO act?
5 posted on 03/01/2003 11:32:50 AM PST by sheik yerbouty
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