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Major concerns over escalation of violence

Publish date: 05 June 2012
Issue Number: 481
Diary: Legalbrief Africa Old
Category: DRC

Villagers and townspeople in eastern DRC are facing 'extreme violence', with mass executions, abductions, mutilations and rapes being committed almost daily, according to aid workers in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.

The Guardian reports that clashes between the government army, the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC), and a group of mutineers led by a fugitive UN war crimes indictee, Bosco Ntaganda, has escalated since April. The report notes that militias including the notorious Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Rwandan rebel group based in Congo, have joined the fray in a multi-fronted battle for territory, money and power. But the violence has received relatively little international attention. The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said the violence had sent tens of thousands of refugees spilling over the border into Rwanda and Uganda, while many more people were internally displaced. The report notes that the total number of internally displaced people in Congo is believed to be two million, its highest level in three years. Full report in The Guardian

Renegade DRC general Bosco Ntaganda has told BBC News that his war crimes indictment is based on lies. Ntaganda has been wanted by the International Criminal Court since 2006 for recruiting child soldiers, according to the report. It notes he also denied involvement in last month's army mutiny in eastern DRC and said he had no fighters with him. Known as the 'Terminator', he is accused of masterminding the recent unrest and fighting after pressure increased for him to be arrested. The report notes that the ICC accuses him of recruiting child fighters in the north-eastern region of Ituri for the same rebel group as Thomas Lubanga, who in March became the first person to be convicted of war crimes by the court. Ntaganda accused the ICC of being biased against Africans. 'Are there people from Ituri that accuse me? Does the prosecutor in The Hague love the people of Ituri more than the Iturians themselves - it is lies, it is lies, they should stop lying to Africans,' he is quoted in the report as saying. Full BBC News report