40,000 Flee New Fighting in Congo
Posted on Oct 15, 2009
A recent upsurge in fighting between the Lord’s Resistance Army and soldiers of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has displaced 40,000 people, adding to the nearly half a million persons already uprooted by the conflict.
Relief groups are calling for urgent aid to help civilians in the northern part of the the country.
Relief groups should increase their presence in the north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to help civilians amid an upsurge of fighting between government troops and the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an aid agency said yesterday.
The UN estimates that 400,000 people in this remote region of the DRC have fled their homes as the LRA – once based in Uganda – responded to attacks from Ugandan and Congolese troops by striking out against civilians. Led by Joseph Kony, who is wanted by the international criminal court, LRA fighters have looted towns and villages, abducted hundreds of children, and raped and killed people.
“We are talking about tactics of violence aimed at instilling fear in the people,” said Luis Encinas, the co-ordinator of Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) operations in central Africa. “Our patients have told us the most brutal stories – about children who are forced to kill their parents and people burnt alive inside their homes.”
The Lord’s Resistance Army’s two-decade insurgency has been marked by brutality, rape and plunder.