Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 19:43:23 -0400
From: Rebleep <>
Newsgroups: soc.culture.african,soc.culture.british,soc.culture.french
Subject: Congolese Bloodbath
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Congolese Bloodbath

By Nancy Palus, Slate, Friday 16 May 2003, at 11:28 AM

Ethnic clashes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have observers warning of a possible genocide in a nation that has already seen the worst of Africa's bloody wars. According to L'Avenir, a U.N. official in the region declared that without decisive action, the area could be headed toward a blood bath. At least 100 people have died over the past two weeks—U.N. officials say the current chaos makes an accurate count impossible—and tens of thousands are fleeing Bunia, the capital of Ituri province in the former Zaire.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has asked the Security Council to form a coalition of the willing to halt the violence in eastern Congo. France has already said it will send troops but wants to see other countries do the same. France's Le Figaro reported that Britain has indicated a willingness to help and that the French and British foreign ministers are set to meet soon in the region. The paper added, After the serious divisions created by the Iraqi crisis, [this] could allow London and Paris the beginnings of reconciliation. Congo's L'Avenir newspaper reported that Canada and South Africa have also said they will help with the formation of an international intervention force. Congolese President Joseph Kabila and leaders of the warring factions began talks May 15 in the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam, at the urging of the United Nations.

Talk of another genocide in the region raises the chilling specter of the 1994 massacre in Rwanda, in which more than 500,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. The Guardian said, Africa analysts have been castigating the UN for failing to foresee the bloodbath predicted since Uganda agreed last year to withdraw its troops from Bunia. A human rights worker told the paper, This is an appalling response by the international community. The UN knew this was going to happen, yet they've been completely overwhelmed.