13 June 2003

Civil war in Congo

Here is just one of many stories to be found on this subject on the web: "Thousands flee new wave of Congo fighting." A couple of paragraphs from this report from CTV:

It's been called the deadliest conflict since the Second World War. Fighting between rival governments, militias and gangs of armed thugs has been raging for six years in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with no end in sight....

Aid organizations estimate that anywhere between 3.5 to 5 million people have died in Congo's civil war.

For those of us in the west who take stable, functioning government for granted, the following is sobering:

"What we need is to have this area under control of government, under a government. Because there is no government here," says Brig. General Kale Kaihura of the Ugandan army. "It's a free-fire zone."

And now the UN says tribal leaders are pushing the Congo towards genocide, pitting tribal militias against one another by using the political vacuum to whip up old ethnic fears.

More than one observer has likened the scale of the Congolese civil war to the two world wars. Add to this the on-going civil wars in Sudan, west Africa and elsewhere, and it seems incomprehensible that the tragic bloodshed in Africa should be eclipsed night after night by Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute in the evening news broadcasts.

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