DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: FIGHTING BETWEEN MILITIAS LINKED TO RIVAL HEMA AND LENDU TRIBES WROUGHT HAVOC...
- Title: DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: FIGHTING BETWEEN MILITIAS LINKED TO RIVAL HEMA AND LENDU TRIBES WROUGHT HAVOC KILLING CIVILAINS AND DRIVING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS FROM THEIR HOMES
- Date: 3rd June 2003
- Summary: (U4) BUNIA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC) (MAY 29 - 31, 2003) (REUTERS) 1. SLV RAZOR WIRE MESH AROUND UNITED NATIONS (UN) COMPOUND; SLV UN MONUC (UN MISSION IN CONGO) OBSERVERS PATROLLING STREETS 0.16 2. SLV EXTERIOR OF RED CROSS HOSPITAL; MV PEOPLE WAITING FOR MEDICAL ATTENTION OUTSIDE HOSPITAL 0.27 3. MV WOMAN HOLDING CHILD AND INTRAVENOUS DRIP (2 SHOTS) 0.34 4. MV INJURED BOY WITH CAST ON LEG LYING ON HOSPITAL FLOOR; SCU BOY WITH PLASTERED ARM IN HOSPITAL; MV/SCU INJURED IN HOSPITAL (7 SHOTS) 1.02 5. MV MOTHER ATTENDING TO CHILD WITH BROKEN LEG 1.08 6. (SOUNDBITE)(Kiswahili) INJURED MAN, SURVIVOR OF ATTACKS, SAYING "They poked me here and here and I did not die. They poked me again here and I did not die. Then they chopped and chopped me with knives and they wanted to slaughter me, other people all died." 1.35 7. SLV UNITED NATIONS ARMOURED PERSONNEL CARRIERS (APC) LINED UP ON SIDE OF STREET; SLV UN SOLDIERS ON SIDE STREET 1.48 8. SLV PEOPLE IN DISPLACED CAMPSITE; MV WOMAN PREPARING A MEAL UNDER HER MAKESHIFT SHELTER; SCU FOOD COOKING ON FIRE (3 SHOTS) 2.05 9. SLV DISPLACED PEOPLE 2.09 10. SLV EXTERIOR BUNIA NATIONAL AIRPORT; MV GROUP OF PEOPLE WITH THEIR BELONGINGS WAITING AT AIRPORT 2.18 11. MV CECILE KAHAMBU WAITING WITH HER FAMILY 2.23 12. (SOUNDBITE)(Kiswahili): DISPLACED WOMAN, CECILE KAHAMBU SAYING "The soldiers in APC's destroyed and looted most of our property and went away. They killed, they cut people's throats and killed people with knives and bullets and we were all afraid. Others chased us away and we have no way of getting any food. Our farms have also been destroyed by APCs where the soldiers drove over they also burnt lots of houses." 2.47 13. MV PEOPLE LOADING BELONGINGS ONTO PLANE 2.58 14. SLV PAN ACROSS DESTROYED AND DESERTED BUILDINGS; MV INTERIOR OF EMPTY LOOTED ROOM WITH SLIPPERS ON THE SIDE; SCU SANDALS (3 SHOTS) 3.15 15. SLV ARMED HEMA SOLDIERS PATROLLING STREETS; SLV SOLDIERS GETTING INTO CAR (3 SHOTS) 3.32 (U4) BUNIA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC) (JUNE 1, 2003) (REUTERS) 16. SCU SET UP OF CHILD SOLDIER 3.37 17. (SOUNDBITE)(Kiswahili): CHILD SOLDIER, RENE BAHATI, SAYING "I like this job as a soldier because many of my friends are also soldiers." 3.48 18. LAS /SLV CHURCH; SLV MAN LOOKING AT FRESH GRAVES; SLV GRAVE SITE (4 SHOTS) 4.08 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Reuters ID: LVA8H0DFEA4PX2CDJCU3L9L3215V
- Location: BUNIA, ITURI PROVINCE, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC)
- Country: Congo, Democratic Republic of
- Duration: 00:04:07
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: Fighting in and around Bunia, between militias linked
to the rival Hema and Lendu tribes has wrought havoc in the
Democratic Republic of Congo's Ituri region, killing civilians
and driving hundreds of thousands of terrified people from
Thousands of people have been displaced in Bunia after
militia attacks on civilians, making Bunia, a settlement of
close to 300,000, a ghost town.
Many of the displaced have put up makeshift camps next to
the offices of the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUC).
On Monday (June 02), a Congolese militia accused a rival
group of killing 352 civilians in a weekend attack near the
embattled northeastern town of Bunia where French-led
peacekeepers are due to start deploying this week.
Queues of mothers and their children, afraid that they will
be the next victims of the ongoing massacres, have also camped
outside the hospital.
Meanwhile, hundreds of injured people with broken limbs,
gun or knife wounds have been admitted to a Red Cross hospital
located next to the United Nations compound.
A survivor who witnessed 12 other people being slashed to
death said, "They poked me here and here, and I did not die.
They poked me again here and I did not die. Then they chopped
and chopped me with knives and they wanted to slaughter me -
other people all died".
Amnesty International says Lendu-Hema fighting over land
and resources has killed about 50,000 people, mainly
civilians, since June 1999, and forced about 500,000 people to
flee the province.
Massacres have rocked Ituri and now major Western powers
are considering sending a rapid reaction force to restore
order, a move they hope could help shore up fragile political
accords aimed at ending Congo's wider war.
Fleeing the violence in their hometown, dozens of people
have put up shelters next to the United Nations compound while
others who can afford it have embarked on airplanes to the
nearby town of Beni. U.N. and missionary flights are the only
traffic in Bunia airport.
Cecile Kahambu from the Lendu tribe and her family of
three were waiting to get onto a flight to Beni at a cost of
65 U.S. dollars per head.
"The soldiers in APC's destroyed and looted most of our
property and went away. They killed - they cut people's
throats and killed people with knives and bullets - and we
were all afraid. Others chased us away and we have no way of
getting any food. Our farms have also been destroyed by APCs
where the soldiers drove over - they also burnt lots of
houses," she said.
Kahambu and a few others are lucky that they can afford a
trip out of Bunia - a town which continues to reel under the
fear of more massacres.
Patrolling the streets day by day are armed child
Child soldiers like Rene Bahati, have been fighting in this
war for six months. They make up a third of the army.
"I like this job as a soldier because many of my friends
are also soldiers," said Rene Bahati, a soldier from the Hema
Human rights groups had pleaded with the United Nations
for months to beef up its presence in the region surrounding
Bunia, known as Ituri, warning of the possibility of genocide
on the scale of Rwanda, where 800,000 people were slaughtered
Uganda was meant to have completed the withdrawal of its
troops from Ituri in early May. The start of its pullout in
April created a power vacuum that was quickly filled by local
militias who fought each other to dominate Bunia, centre of a
region that boasts 200 small-scale gold mines.
The wider war in the DRC, now gradually subsiding, began
in 1998 when Rwanda and Uganda invaded eastern Congo to help
rebel groups fight the Kinshasa government, which was propped
up by troops from Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia.
France says it is willing to send troops to help end the
bloodshed, which erupted when the Ugandan army completed a
troop withdrawal early last month.
The United Nations has increased a force of peacekeepers
in the region to about 700 but the soldiers, deployed in Congo
to monitor a ceasefire in the country's wider war, have
neither the mandate nor the ability to quell Bunia's kind of
The government in Kinshasa denied involvement in the
bloodshed but says it is vital to deploy a U.N.-mandated force
quickly to restore peace.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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- Embargoed:18th June 2003 13:00