Congo massacres revealed by video

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The Independent Online

Evidence of new genocidal killings in Congo, showing mass graves, mutilated corpses and young children and adults with horrific machete wounds, emerged yesterday from amateur video footage shown to The Independent.

Evidence of new genocidal killings in Congo, showing mass graves, mutilated corpses and young children and adults with horrific machete wounds, emerged yesterday from amateur video footage shown to The Independent.

It is the first direct documentary evidence of ethnic massacres in former Zaire, now known as Democratic Republic of Congo, where war has raged almost continuously since 1994. The video was released at a time when Congo's leader, Laurent Kabila, is appearing before the UN Security Council in New York to discuss the Congo crisis.

The video footage was smuggled into Kenya by aid workers from the charity Christian Blind Mission. The videos document systematic attacks by the Lendu tribe against the Hema people in north-eastern Congo, an area controlled by troops from neighbouring Uganda, since last September. The charity's regional director, David MacAllister, said he took the risky decision to expose the atrocities because "we want to alert the world to clashes that have escalated into a major catastrophe" in Congo. He said he feared a genocide could be under way, similar to that in neighbouring Rwanda, which caused up to 1 million deaths.

The video shows the killings - month by month - in 13 villages and towns in the rural Bunia area. Some 7,000 people may have been slaughtered, it is claimed.

The most recent footage, from 9 January, shows Blukwa town being attacked for the third time within 18 hours. About 40 bodies are shown stacked in a church room, with nurses trying to stitch gashes and severed limbs of survivors.

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