Reports of mass killings in Congo over Christmas period

By staff writers
December 30, 2008

The international Catholic aid network Caritas says that around 400 people may have been killed in massacres carried out by rebels in Congo in late December, following a spate of violence in the country.

Caritas Internationalis says it has been receiving “disturbing on-the-ground reports" of mass killings perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) from Uganda.

The attacks are identified as having taken place between 25 and 28 December, over the Christmas period.

The LRA has denied responsibility for the attacks, one of which took place during a Christmas Day concert organised by the Catholic Church in Farajde City.

Some 150 people are believed to have been killed in the attack, which lasted two days.

In Duru, Caritas says that 75 people had been killed and a church burned down in another assault.

The aggression is believed to have continued along the Sudan border, killing more than 250 people and prompting 6,500 people to seek refuge with the church.

Caritas says that looting has left the people in desperate need of assistance, and that it has received reports that assailants are abducting children to use as soldiers.

Caritas Dungu-Doruma has appealed for peace and has called on the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to take necessary steps to protect civilian populations.

The northern region of Congo has been the subject of numerous acts of killing over the past two months, with villages burned down and hundreds of people killed or abducted.

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