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Africa

2003-05-28

AFRICA/DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - IN BUNIA, MARTYRED CITY IN NORTH EAST, FIGHTING CONTINUES BETWEEN RIVAL LENDU AND HEMA TRIBES

Bunia (Fides Service) – Still tense the situation in Bunia, in north east Congo disrupted by weeks of fighting between Hema and Lendu tribesmen. “For the moment there is no fighting” a local source tells Fides Service, “yesterday there was fighting for about 2 hours. The few people who remain in the city dare not go out fearing more fighting and killing of civilians”.
Food is ever scarcer and the health service has collapsed lacking medicine and medical staff. The UN Peace Keeping Force MONUC whose task it is to monitor the cease-fire is unable to stop the fighting. The international presence in Bunia must be empowered unless the world wants to see another humanitarian tragedy” the local source tells Fides Service.
Since 1999 in Ituri region the Lendu, a farming people have fought the Hema, mainly herdsmen similar to the Tutsi. Clashes between Lendu and Hema have caused the death of tens of thousands and displaced some 500,000. Besides in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1998 other foreign troops have been fighting. The total death toll is estimated at least 3 million. LM (Fides Service 28/5/2003 EM lines 22 Words: 261)

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