RealNews

Congolese Militias Trade Heavy Fire

Firefights erupted today all around this tense town in northeastern Congo just a day after the arrival of foreign peacekeepers dispatched by the United Nations to quell fighting between ethnic militias. Soon after gunfire pierced the silence at 6:30 a.m., thousands of terrified Congolese carrying foam mattresses, suitcases and cooking pots on their heads ran through the streets of Bunia and sought shelter in an already crowded refugee camp at the U.N. military headquarters in the center of town. “The Lendus are coming!” hollered Papy Papaselte, a 12-year-old boy who hid behind a tree as people scrambled to hide from ethnic Lendu militia forces attacking Bunia from three sides. Some cried. Others shook. Everyone fell to the ground at the sound of guns. For five hours, automatic weapons, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades boomed from almost every direction as the Lendus tried to fight their way through the ethnic Hema militia defending Bunia. When the shooting subsided, the Hemas still held the town. Full Story

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