DJUGU, Democratic Republic of Congo — The useful resource-wealthy however deeply troubled Democratic Republic of Congo is the location of a few of Africa’s longest-operating conflicts — and the world’s largest peacekeeping mission.
About 20,000 United Nations peacekeepers function in Congo, Africa’s second-largest nation by land mass, making an attempt to maintain its residents protected from the tons of of armed teams that cover in and strike from its hills, particularly in its east.
Violence is nothing new right here, however a current wave of brutal preventing has damaged out within the province of Ituri, on the border with Uganda, elevating considerations a few humanitarian catastrophe. Greater than 260 individuals have died and greater than 200,000 have fled their houses since December in a battle began by a scuffle between youths from two native ethnic communities, the Lendu and Hema.
The United Nations peacekeeping mission introduced this previous week it had found 5 suspected mass grave websites close to a few of the villages attacked in February and March, when the violence peaked.
The Lendu and Hema in Ituri stay as neighbors, marry each other and converse the identical language — however additionally they share a historical past of bloody battle.
A dispute over land, almost 20 years in the past, escalated, and Ituri turned the epicenter of a serious regional conflict, involving overseas neighbors like Rwanda and Uganda, which backed totally different militias in their very own battles for affect in Congo. A few of these overseas-backed militia leaders later turned the primary males convicted of conflict crimes on the Worldwide Legal Courtroom.
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