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medea
Jul 23, 2003, 02:38 PM
French peacekeepers found the hacked bodies of 22 elderly people, women and children in a village outside the Congolese town of Bunia after trading gunfire with militiamen, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
The bodies provided the latest evidence of massacres taking place beyond the protection of the French troops, who began deploying in Bunia last month to shield residents from clashes between ethnic Hema and Lendu militia.
The multinational force's spokesman said a French patrol discovered the 22 mutilated bodies in the village of Nizi, about 30 km (19 miles) north of Bunia, during a patrol on Monday.
Troops exchanged fire with ethnic Lendu militia who were leaving the abandoned village, wounding one fighter. There were no French casualties.
"There was an exchange of gunshots, and one of the Lendu militiamen was wounded," Colonel Gerard Dubois told Reuters from Bunia by telephone.
Dubois said the killings appeared to have taken place on Sunday, when large numbers of refugees arrived in Bunia from areas north of the town.
The killings followed another massacre in Tchomia outside Bunia on July 15. Villagers said 80 people were killed, according to a revised toll given by the United Nations on Monday.
The U.N. had initially quoted villagers as saying 45 people were killed in Tchomia, 50 km (30 miles) east of Bunia, in an attack blamed by residents on Lendu militiamen.
A U.N. statement issued on Monday said Tchomia's hospital was looted and about 250 houses burnt in the attack. It quoted a local source as saying 80 people were kidnapped.
France is providing the backbone of a multinational peacekeeping force in Bunia, focus of clashes between rival militia backed by governments in Congo's capital Kinshasa, Uganda and Rwanda competing over the mineral-rich region.
The clashes mesh with a wider pattern of violence in eastern Congo, which has overshadowed last week's launch of a power-sharing government designed to end five years of war in which an estimated three million people have died, mainly from hunger and disease.
The French troops in Bunia have a U.N. mandate limited to protecting the town, making it difficult for them to stop killings beyond a security zone roughly 10-12 km (6-8 miles) around Bunia.
The mainly-French force, which is under the command of the European Union, is separate from an existing U.N. mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is due to pull out when its mandate expires on September 1.
The U.N. Security Council is expected to approve an increase in the number of U.N. troops in Congo and give them a tougher mandate, aiming to bring security to a wider area beyond Bunia.

http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/africa/07/22/dr.congo.massacre.reut/index.html

Kid Red
Jul 23, 2003, 03:43 PM
Tears of The Sun-the new Bruce Willis movie on DVD sheds some light on the massacres going on in that region. Very sick and very appalling that nothing is being done about it.

topicolo
Jul 23, 2003, 04:39 PM
Wasn't that movie supposed to be set in Nigeria?