Friday, October 31, 2008

Disaster Unfolding In The Congo

A map locating the province of North Kivu. Congolese rebels said they were opening humanitarian corridors Thursday for refugees massed outside the eastern city of Goma but warned UN forces they would not halt their advance. (AFP/Graphic/Gil)

Congo 'Catastrophe' Feared As Goma Fears The Worst -- Yahoo News/AFP

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (AFP) – Congo rebels agreed Thursday to open humanitarian corridors near besieged Goma, but aid agencies warned of a "catastrophe" as terrified residents recounted tales of rape, looting and murder.

Rebel leader Laurent Nkunda, whose forces are on the edge of the eastern city, vowed in a letter to the United Nations mission in Kinshasa to allow "humanitarian organisations access to those in need who are behind our lines."

Few people remained on the streets of Goma, where shops, schools and offices were closed as residents lived in fear of out-of-control remnants of the Congolese army, many of them drunk.

An AFP reporter was shown the bodies of seven civilians, including two women. All were killed overnight by Congolese soldiers on a looting binge, said landlord Jospeh Ndakola.

"Soldiers burst in here in the evening and stayed until four o'clock in the morning," he said. "They looted all my tenants' belongings, making them carry their things to their vehicles, and then they came back in to murder them."

Read more ....

My Comment: Almost 1 million citizens are effected by this fighting .... this has the potential to result in the deaths of tens of thousands if aid does not find its way to the region soon.

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