The Congo war –1


The concealed genocide

 

By Tony Busselen

[This article is translated from

Solidaire,

with thanks].

An International Rescue Committee team investigating the situation in the Congolese provinces under occupation by Rwanda and Uganda has discovered that the war has already cost the lives of 1.7 million people. The UN issues protests against the invaders, but its practice is benevolent goodwill and patience towards them. It has forbidden the Congo to defend itself against the forces of occupation.

On average the war in the Congo, which has been going on now for two years, is killing, each day, 2,600 Congolese in the occupied provinces. There are hardly any children left aged under 5 (

New York Times,

8 June 2000).

Behind these statistics lies an unspeakable reign of terror, one which is entirely absent from our television screens. For the Congolese people the names of a whole series of villages are now identified with atrocities, but this is not the case for European people, who have never heard of them: Kasika, Makobola, Mwenga and many more, where dozens of people have been atrociously massacred, either in acts of mutual repression or as a result of minor squabbles between the occupation forces that invariably descend into carnage.

Kisangani is an instructive example. On 14 May, near the hamlet of Katogota, a Banyamulenge officer was killed in the course of a dispute with a Rwandan colleague. Two hours later, a truckful of Banyamulenge military personnel drew into the village, along with soldiers from Rwanda and Burundi. They blocked all access routes to the village and launched themselves into an act of vengeance that carried on until 5 a.m.

According to one witness:

“They

[the soldiers]

rounded up all the inhabitants, and told them to remain calm and not panic, because nobody would do anything to them … At about 7.30 p.m., the Banyamulenge embarked on the massacre, breaking into houses and calmly liquidating the occupants, one after the other, up to 5.30 a.m. Several bodies were dumped in the Ruzizi, which runs within 100 metres of the road leading to the village. Others were thrown into latrine ditches”

. In all they murdered between 300 and 600 people.

What is the UN doing about this?

After the recent Kisangani battles, the UN passed a resolution calling on Rwanda and Uganda to withdraw their troops from the Congo. A similar resolution was passed more than a year ago, on 9 April 1999. In the meantime the massacres and terror campaign against the Congolese civilian population have carried on intensifying in the occupied territories. Moreover, during this period, the occupation troops have with total impunity launched at least three attempts to capture the rich Congolese city of Kisangani [centre of the Congo’s diamond mining area -

Lalkar

].

What is most disturbing and disgusting is that this most recent resolution also condemns the Congolese government. The Council obstinately refuses to intervene against the aggressors, however horrendous the crimes they commit. At the same time it is denying to the Congo all right to defend itself.

By so doing it is becoming ever clearer that the UN’s role is simply to drag out the conflict. When Rwanda and Uganda launched this war in August 1998 they were supported by the US who wanted to get Kabila out. The resistance of the Congolese people has deprived the aggression of the least semblance of justification. It is Washington which today requires the continuation of hostilities, hoping to achieve its aims thereby. The UN is merely an instrument for implementing criminal US foreign policy.