[QODLink]
Archive
New massacre in Congo

Hundreds of people were massacred at the weekend in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), near the southern tip of Lake Albert, a Ugandan army officer said on Sunday

Last Modified: 01 Jun 2003 18:47 GMT

Hundreds of people were massacred at the weekend in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), near the southern tip of Lake Albert, a Ugandan army officer said on Sunday.

Ugandan troops withdrawal
has left a power vacuum
A DRC rebel official put the number of dead at more than 250, including about 20 babies.

  

Ugandan army Brigadier, Kale Kaihura, said fighters from Ituri's majority Lendu ethnic group attacked the rival Hemas in Kyomya, about 30 km from the Ugandan border. The attack occurred soon after the withdrawal of Ugandan forces from the area.

 

"What annoys me and frustrate some of us is that all this is happening after we forewarned the United Nations through MONUC (the UN military mission in DRC) that this situation was volatile and needed careful handling," Kaihura said.

  

Despite the warning, MONUC pressured the Ugandan army to exit without having in place an alternative security arrangement, he said. 

 

Babies not spared

  

Bawunde Kisangani, the secretary general of the Party For the Unity and Safeguard of Integrity of Congo (PUSIC), a Hema group, said he had just visited the site of the killings.

 

"We counted 253 dead bodies at Kyomya killed by Lendu combatants. They included 20 babies," he said.

 

Kisangani said the attackers used machetes and rifles to kill their victims. They stormed a hospital, killing people they found there, he added. The attackers included fighters of another rebel group, the Congolese Rally for Democracy-Liberation Movement, as well as Congo's government troops.

  

Eighteen of the attackers - 12 Lendu fighters and six DRC soldiers - were killed during the counter-fighting that ensued, Kisangani said.

 

Hema groups in the Ituri region accuse the DRC government troops of siding with the Lendu. The Hema groups include the Union of Congolese Patriots, which controls the region's largest town, Bunia. It has close ties with PUSIC.   

 

On Friday, the UN Security Council gave the green light for a heavily armed French-led international force to protect refugees from inter-ethnic massacres in Bunia.

  

More than 50,000 people have been killed in Ituri and about half-a-million displaced since 1999 in a long-running feud between the Lendu and Hema tribes.

Topics in this article
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.