Massacre in the Congo

The Lord’s Resistance Army killed about 300 people and kidnapped 250 more in a rampage in the Democratic Republic of Congo in December 2009, according to an international rights group and the UN. The previously undocumented massacre, undertaken over four-days in the remote Makombo area of DRC’s northeastern Haute Uele district, was highlighted in reports by Human Rights Watch and the UN on Sunday.

The killings of 321 civilians occurred between December 14 and 17, HRW said in a report after documenting the deaths in a visit to the region in February. The Ugandan anti-government group were said to have abducted 80 children among the 250 people kidnapped.

“The Makombo massacre is one of the worst ever committed by the LRA in its bloody 23-year history, yet it has gone unreported for months,” Anneke Van Woudenberg, HRW’s senior Africa researcher, said.

“The four-day rampage demonstrates that the LRA remains a serious threat to civilians and is not a spent force, as the Ugandan and Congolese governments claim.”


However, Obonyo Olweny, a former LRA spokesman, has told Al Jazeera that while the group is still active, it is not fighting civilians. “I want to say categorically to the world that the LRA is not responsible for the killings going on in the [Democratic Republic of] Congo or the CAR [Central Africa Republic],” he said from Nairobi, Kenya, on Sunday.

“It is the UPD [the Ugandan armed forces] carrying out the killings – it is part of the government’s propaganda.”

Sources: Al Jazeera (News), Human Rights Watch (Report)

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