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400 Killed, 500 Others Missing After Two Days Of Clashes In Northeastern Congo

Hundreds of civilians were killed and hundreds more were missing after Congolese rebels allied with the government seized a key town in northeastern Congo and launched a two-day campaign of murder, rape, looting and destruction, a rival rebel leader said Saturday. Thomas Lubanga, head of the Union of Congolese Patriots, or UPC, said at least 400 people were killed on Feb. 24-25 and 500 were missing after his troops were pushed from the strategic town of Bogoro during an attack by the rebel Congolese Rally for Democracy-Liberation Movement, or RCD-ML, and allied Lendu tribal militiamen. Both groups receive aid from the government of President Joseph Kabila. There was no way to independently verify the claim; the U.N. mission to Congo, or MONUC, which is aware of the reported killings, said the area is too dangerous for its unarmed military observers to investigate. “We know there has been fighting going on in that area over the past few days,” Col. Tim Watts, chief of staff of U.N. forces in Congo, told The Associated Press from the capital, Kinshasa. “Security in the region is fragile, and the situation is becoming more tense, even in Bunia.” The alleged perpetrators of the massacre could not be found to comment. Full Story

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