While waiting for the woefully undermanned contingent of UN peacekeepers, at least 100 more people were slaughtered in the Congo:
At least 100 people were massacred at the weekend in northeast Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), near the southern tip of Lake Albert, a Ugandan army officer said on Sunday.
A DRC rebel official put the number of dead at more than 250, including about 20 babies.
The killings come in the wake of a spate of massacres in DRC’s Ituri region and amid preparations for a major French-led international force to deploy over the next week in Bunia, Ituri’s capital, to protect civilians.
Ugandan army Brigadier Kale Kaihura said that fighters from Ituri’s majority Lendu ethnic group attacked the rival Hemas “in Kyomya, about 30 kilometres from the Ugandan border, when they realised that withdrawing Ugandan forces, stuck there due to heavy rains, had finally withdrawn.”
Meanwhile, there appears to be no real mandate for the UN contingent, even when it does arrive:
The UN mission in Congo needs a tougher mandate across the board to allow it to keep the peace and help end the world’s deadliest ongoing conflict, a top UN official said.
A robust French-led force is due to start deploying to the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) this week after getting the go-ahead from the UN Security Council to end horrific militia killings and cannibalism in the stricken Ituri region.
However, troops from the United Nations Observation Mission in Congo (MONUC) mission elsewhere in Africa’s third biggest country have a mandate which lets them do little but defend themselves. Uruguayan soldiers in Ituri were powerless to stop savage killings – including those of two UN observers.