Bunia (Fides Service) – More details with regard to the massacres in Ituri, north east Congo have reached Fides Service. “On Monday 6 October, in the village of Kachele, 65 people, mostly children women and old people were cut to death with hatchets. The attackers came from a nearby village” a Congolese Religious in Bunia, whose name we withhold for his safety, tells Fides Service. “Kachele is near the parish of Fataki in Bunia diocese and the people are mostly Hema. The attackers were Lendu warriors” the Brother says. Since 1999 the tribes have engaged in a conflict in which more than 50,000 have been killed and 500,000 made homeless. “The situation is unbearable: the people realise all the horror of what is happening around them. Unfortunately Ituri’s political leaders are meeting in Kinshasa, 2000 km away. But it is here that they must talk to the people, here they must calm hearts. It is no easy task and it cannot be done in a short time because it is much easier to sow hatred and death than love and peace” the Brother affirms.
“But the violence has other causes which are not local. If you look at a map of the villages where the massacres have been carried out you can see clearly that it is the same path as the oil fields, where, just recently, a Canadian company has begun to drill for oil. Remember these names Drodro, Kachele Fataki, Iba. These are villages where people have been massacred in recent months and these are villages which have oil under their feet. People in Ituri are beginning to realise that the slaughter of civilians is part of a strategy to force people to flee and clear the land for oil wells, to exploit the riches of the earth without paying the right price” the Brother concludes.
The UN is deploying a MONUC peacekeeping force in Ituri to guarantee security for civilians. So far 3,360 of the total 4,800 blue berets expected have arrived. LM (Fides Service 9/10/2003 EM lines 33 Words: 405)