[QODLink]
Archive
100,000 displaced in Congo strife

About 100,000 people have fled their homes during the latest bloodletting in

Last Modified: 07 Mar 2005 18:59 GMT
Fighters on all sides of Congo's war have raped civilians

About 100,000 people have fled their homes during the latest bloodletting in Congo's east, a region where tens of thousands of women and children have been raped in recent years, aid and rights groups have said.

An explosion of violence in the mineral-rich, northeastern district of Ituri since late last year has damaged efforts by the former Belgian colony to recover from a wider five-year war.

 

"The humanitarian situation has become catastrophic since the outbreak of fighting in December," said Modibo Traore, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Ituri.

 

"We are now looking at about 100,000 displaced in all, including about 70,000 that are in the camps," he said on Monday. 

 

Warning

 

Traore warned that UN military operations against militia in Ituri, which came just days after the killing of nine Bangladeshi peacekeepers this month, would make matters worse as armed men would vent their anger on long-suffering civilians.

 

He was speaking in Ituri's capital Bunia as Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report saying government soldiers and rebels had raped tens of thousands of women in the east of Democratic Republic of Congo since fighting broke out in 1998.

 

 "Sexual violence has shattered tens of thousands of lives in Congo, but fewer than a dozen victims have seen their assailants prosecuted"

Alison Des Forges,
senior adviser, HRW

Fighters on all sides of Congo's war have raped civilians on a massive scale, but only a few have ever been tried, HRW said.

 

"Sexual violence has shattered tens of thousands of lives in Congo, but fewer than a dozen victims have seen their assailants prosecuted," said Alison Des Forges, senior adviser to HRW's Africa division.

 

Fighting between ethnic-based militia in remote Ituri has killed more than 50,000 people since 1999. The latest clashes started in December between Hema and Lendu militia in the Djugu territory, not far from the border with Uganda.

 

The ethnic conflicts are rooted in commercial and land rivalries in a region rich in diamonds, gold and timber.

 

Civilians bear the full brunt of the brutality. Militias have razed villages, butchered several hundred people, kidnapped civilians and raped scores of women.

Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.