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Congo War Toll Soars as U.N. Pleads for Aid

They call the machete a weapon of mass destruction here. Its ghastly wreckage can be found inside what passes for this town’s only functioning hospital. On a thin foam mattress lies a wide-eyed old man who has survived an attempted decapitation. Nearby, a mother with black moons around her eyes nurses two wounded children back to health and mourns for another two, freshly killed. It is estimated that more than three million people have died in Congo’s four-year war as a dizzying array of rival rebel armies and their patrons from nine neighboring countries have fought over Congo’s enormous spoils. Gold, diamonds and coltan — a mineral used in cellphones — are among the precious loot in this northeastern province called Ituri, and peace deals so far have done nothing to stanch the bloodletting. The latest massacre took place over several days this month, as militias belonging to rival Hema and Lendu tribes battled for control here in Ituri’s largest town. Full Story

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