CONGO - A Human Rights activist group has accused United Nations peacekeepers of knowingly gunning down innocent civilians during a March 1st raid on
a marketplace in Congo. Human rights group Justice Plus released a report listing the names of alleged civilian victims killed in the raid which was
staged on a busy market day. The U.N. responded saying that peacekeepers only returned fire after coming under attack, and that women and children
were amongst those who fired weapons.
The charges Tuesday came as U.N. peacekeepers announced they were staging an assault on a militia camp, targeting fighters in eastern Congo who have
killed thousands in a years-old ethnic conflict.
Accused of years of ineffectiveness, peacekeepers now are aggressively seeking to disarm fighters after thousands defied an April 1 ultimatum to
surrender weapons. Some 9,000 of an estimated 15,000 fighters gave up their weapons.
Justice Plus charged that peacekeepers intentionally chose a busy market day to stage a March 1 assault, ensuring civilians were caught in hours-long
crossfire between heavily armed militia and several hundred peacekeepers, the Bunia-based rights group said.
It also charged that the raid near Loga, 20 miles north of Bunia, was in retaliation for a militia attack a week earlier in which nine Bangladeshi
peacekeepers were slaughtered and their bodies mutilated.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
Stories coming out of the Congo continue to shock the world. Peacekeepers recovered the mutilated bodies of nine of their comrades after a militia
attack in late February.
UN Peacekeepers Killed In The Congo (from ATSNN) - 2005/2/26
The UN reports that 9 of its Peacekeepers were killed in the DRC today They were Bangladeshis and were killed by militias. This is apparently the
fourth most deadly attack on UN troops in Africa, and the biggest day of UN troop casualties in africa occured in the Congo.
U.N. sources said blue-helmeted soldiers had recovered the bodies of their comrades after two U.N. patrols were fired upon from all sides in a
well-organized ambush in the lawless Ituri district of the former Zaire.
The United Nations has a 4,800-strong force in Ituri made up of four contingents from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Morocco and Nepal. The total U.N. force in
Congo numbers 16,000, making it the world body's biggest peacekeeping operation.
Ituri is one of Congo's worst trouble spots, where ethnic militias have killed 50,000 civilians since 1999 -- the year the current U.N. force in the
country, known by its French acronym MONUC, was established.
The patrols were attacked in Ndoki, 19 miles east of Ituri's main city of Bunia and an area controlled by a predominantly ethnic Lendu militia known
as FNI.Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
U.N. peacekeepers have reported barbaric acts commited by tribal militias, including cannibalism.
KINSHASA, Congo (AP) - Militiamen grilled bodies on a spit and boiled two girls alive as their mother watched, UN peacekeepers charged, adding
cannibalism to a list of atrocities allegedly carried out by one of the tribal groups fighting in northeastern Congo.
The fighting is killing thousands every month and has made it the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said in
Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday.
Wednesday's UN report, summarizing testimony from witnesses gathered over a year, said hundreds of people have been kidnapped by militias in the
region and some have been killed by torture and decapitation. Those not killed are held in labour camps and forced to work as fishermen, porters,
domestic workers and sex slaves.Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
The U.N. has faced accusations of ineffectiveness in the war-torn region and has obviously stepped up efforts - and aggressiveness - in an attempt to
rectify the situation. Charged with keeping the peace whilst protecting innocent civilians, one cannot begin to imagine the psychological pressure
that officers and troops must face in such conditions.
"Civilians are the true casualties of war." I find it surprising that the peacekeepers have managed to maintain such a record of low civilian
casualties throughout their operational history, although it may well explain their notorious ineffectiveness. Traditionally seen as 'chaperones to
conflict', perhaps the recent raids in the Congo herald the "Blue Helmets" evolution from "peace keepers", to peace enforcers
The Justice Plus website - www.justiceplus.org
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UN Peacekeepers Killed In The Congo (from ATSNN)
[edit on 2005/4/15 by wecomeinpeace]