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Africa
Massacred bodies found in DR Congo
At least 100 people killed by Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army, UN officials say.
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2009 19:24 GMT
Some of the LRA's commanders are wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court [EPA]
 

At least 100 bodies linked to a massacre by Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army fighters have been found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, UN peacekeepers have said.

"The attack was reportedly carried out by 13 rebels. At least 100 bodies were recovered by local self-defence forces," Jean-Paul Dietrich, a spokesman for the UN mission in Congo (Monuc), said on Wednesday.

Dietrich said the attack took place at Tora in a remote corner of Congo's northeastern Orientale province on January 16.

A wave of attacks were waged by Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) fighters after DR Congo, Uganda and Sudan launched military operations against the group after they failed to sign peace deals to end one of Africa's longest wars.

Humanitarian crisis

The three nations attacked LRA bases in DR Congo in mid-December, forcing the group to flee into surrounding areas.

"At least 900 Congolese have been killed since the beginning of operations, compared to around 40 LRA killed," Dietrich added.

The LRA is also accused of conducting large-scale kidnappings and rapes as well as forced recruitment of minors, all of which has led to a major humanitarian crisis in the region.

"The civilian population are, in effect, caught between the conflicting parties."

Navi Pillay
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, described the violations committed in eastern DR Congo by the LRA as "grotesque".

"I'm also concerned that the joint military counter-operations, unless properly planned and executed, could lead to further human rights abuses being perpetrated against the civilian population ... caught between the conflicting parties," she said.

The offensive against the LRA has failed to capture any senior commanders, some of whom are wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Joseph Kony, the LRA's leader, is wanted by the ICC on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The group began its rebellion against the government of Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan president, in the 1980s after members of the Acholi community, whose interests the LRA says it is defending, were purged from the army.

LRA violence has left 900 people dead and displaced 130,000 others, with more than 8,000 Congolese taking refuge in Southern Sudan, the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates.

Source:
Agencies
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