RealNews

Congolese flee rape, murder onto floating islands

Thousands of civilians have taken refuge on floating islands in the lakes of Congo’s Katanga province to escape rape and murder by government and militia fighters, a top U.N. humanitarian official said on Thursday. Some 120,000 people have fled their homes in the remote Mitwaba area, where hundreds of women have been raped during fighting between the army and former pro-government militiamen that U.N. peacekeepers are unable to control, he added. Congo is staggering toward elections, due later this year, but fighting continues in Katanga and elsewhere in the lawless east, where minerals are plentiful and gunmen continue to roam, nearly three years after the war was officially declared over. Daniel Augstburger, the head of the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Congo, said many people had taken refuge on islands formed by clumps of papyrus plants floating on lakes in Katanga’s Upemba National Park. Full Story

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