Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Congo: from Zenit

I found a little more on what is going on in Congo. When UN peacekeeper forces simply watch as murder and mayhem take place, then... one wonders just what they are there for?

Congolese Prelates Decry "Silent Genocide"

Caritas Workers Appeal for Help in Escalating Conflict

GOMA, Congo, NOV. 14, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Congo's bishops have dubbed the violence in the country as a "silent genocide" that could destabilize the entire region if left to run its course.

The bishops reported that widespread massacres, targeted killings of the young, and systematic rapes are taking place "under the impassive eyes of those who have received a mandate to keep the peace and protect the population," according to Caritas.

A force of 17,000 U.N. troops in Congo has been unable to prevent an upsurge in violence over the past three months. An increase in troop numbers is currently under discussion. Today, north of Goma, the United Nations began the distribution of 100 tons of food to 50,000 civilians.

The fighting is generally speaking between the Congolese military and a group of rebel fighters linked to the Rwandan government and directed by Laurent Nkunda. But it is complicated by an assortment of other militia groups. The conflict is over dissidence between Hutus and Tutsis, the same issue that brought the genocide of 800,000 people in Rwanda in 1994.

Congo's bishops appealed for more help from the international community, saying that "our own governments have shown themselves powerless in the face of the extent of the situation."

On Thursday, the bishops made an emergency trip to Goma and Butembo-Beni to express their solidarity with people caught up in the violence, Caritas reported.

The aid agency's emergency appeal is to provide the thousands in refugee camps with items such as food, blankets, hygiene products and cooking equipment.

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