Dozens killed in fresh massacre in Congo

Dozens of people have been killed in a new massacre in two villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo's troubled northeastern Ituri region, say local officials and residents.

    A Lendu fighter poses for photgraphers. French special forces have been sent in to quell the inter-ethnic fighting between the Hema and Lendu factions.

    They said the massacre was carried out on Friday by militiamen

    from the ethnic Lendu community in the villages of Drodro and Largo,

    about 80 kilometers north of the regional capital of


    At least 150 people were killed in massacres in the same two

    villages on April 3.

    Inter-ethnic massacres between the minority Hema and the

    majority Lendu in Ituri have claimed the lives of 50,000 people

    since 1999 and displaced half a million others.

    The ongoing killings led to the deployment of a French-led UN

    peacekeeping force in the former flashpoint town of Bunia last

    month. But its mandate does not extend to the rest of Ituri.

    "Well-coordinated" attack

    At the ransacked and virtually empty hospital in Drodro, Father

    Desire Ngudjolo said on Saturday that Lendu militiamen had killed 23

    people in a "well-coordinated" attack which began at around 5:45 am

    (0345 GMT) Friday. The priest said that 22 of the bodies have already

    been buried.

    An journalist with the news agency AFP saw the body of one man, identified as that

    of a nurse named Nembe, as well as three wounded, one of them a

    woman who died of her injuries one hour later, and pools of blood.

    In Largo, about two kilometers away, about one dozen bodies were

    strewn around the streets, some of them mutilated, said the

    reporter, who also saw several wounded and about 20 spent

    cartridge cases and several burnt-out shops.

    Women cried around several graves, where residents said they had

    buried between 20 and 30 victims, all of them civilians.

    "You don't joke around with the Lendu," someone had scrawled on

    the wall of a shop on the main street.

    The local official in the area, Londri Ngulocha, said that a

    total of 408 people were killed on Friday in Drodro, Largo and in three

    other nearby villages.

    On Sunday, 22 people were massacred at Nizi, near Bunia,

    according to a spokesman for the multinational peacekeeping force

    deployed in the region, who said the killings were probably carried

    out by Lendu militiamen.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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