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Congo Militia Says Rivals Kill 352 Near Bunia

A Congolese militia accused a rival group on Monday of killing 352 civilians in a weekend attack near the embattled northeastern town of Bunia, where French-led peacekeepers are due to start deploying this week. Kisembo Bitamara, spokesman of the Party for the Unity and Safeguarding of the Integrity of Congo, told Reuters the attack was carried out by Lendu fighters backed by Congolese government troops at Tchomia on the shores of Lake Albert. “They killed 352 civilians, men, women and children, 37 of whom were at the Tchomia hospital,” said Bitamara, whose PUSIC party represents a segment of the rival Hema community. The government in Kinshasa denied involvement in the bloodshed but said the reported incident showed it was vital to deploy a U.N.-mandated force quickly to restore peace. “These things are to be expected. Outside forces keep creating warlords in this area and they will continue to do so,” said Kikaya bin Karubi, Congolese Minister for Information. Full Story

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