Troops of the guerilla Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have massacred over 900 people since Christmas in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, reports Catholic News Agency. The news reports from missionary media sources, which are not attracting attention in Europe and America, lament the inaction and “impotence” of the United Nations forces in the area.
Fides news agency reports that the LRA is a Ugandan group mainly composed of child soldiers kidnapped and forced into service. For decades the group has ravaged the land in northern Uganda and is active in Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic.
The armies of Uganda, Congo and South Sudan formed a joint military operation in late December 2008 to try to stop the LRA. They moved against the LRA general headquarters in the Garamba Forest in the Congo with the backing of the U.N. and the United States.
However, the operation failed to capture the guerilla leaders, who are wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.
The LRA has responded with violence against Congolese civilians, sacking and destroying entire villages and killing entire families.
Fides, which is a missionary news agency, accused the U.N. Mission in Congo (MONUC) of being “yet another one of the acronyms that has become synonymous with the impotence of the international community.”
Fides claimed that MONUC members seem to be “mere spectators in the massacres of these people whom they should be defending.”
Report from the Christian Telegraph
The civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo is fast approaching the same level of crisis as the Rwanda genocide. Rwandan-backed Tutsi rebels have now closed on the Congo city of Goma. There are reports that there are now some 250 000 displaced persons in the Congo.
Once again it is the civilian population that is bearing the brunt of the civil war with tens of thousands fleeing the fighting, looting and raping that is being conducted on a widespread scale.
Tutsi rebels have now forced some 50 000 refugees from their refugee camps and burnt the camps to the ground.
United Nations peacekeepers have increasingly become irrelevant as the conflagration grows.
The civil war has come about because of the Congolese government’s inability/failure to disarm Hutu militants who fled Rwanda and took refuge in the forests of eastern Congo following the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The Tutsi rebel leader is Laurent Nkunda, a former Congolese general who is fighting for Tutsi rights. The Rwandan government is backing the rebels.
The rebel leader is said to be an Evangelical Christian, yet he is a brutal warlord responsible for the same manner of atrocities as those of the government troops in Goma.
A truce had been reached in 2003 after some 5 million deaths and a war involving some 8 African countries, but this has now been destroyed with the latest round of fighting which began in August 2008. There has been a ceasefire in force since last Wednesday, but it is unsure if this will hold for much longer with government troops going on a rampage through Goma, raping, looting, burning and killing civilians. There is no reason to expect it will be any different should the rebel army move on Goma as well.