Church slams killing in the Congo

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

KIN­SHASA: Con­golese se­cu­rity forces and a mili­tia fight­ing them have killed at least 3 383 peo­ple in the central Ka­sai re­gion since Oc­to­ber last year, the Catholic Church said yes­ter­day, in the most de­tailed re­port to date on the vi­o­lence.

Church of­fi­cials, cit­ing their own sources in the re­mote ter­ri­tory bor­der­ing An­gola, said the army had de­stroyed 10 vil­lages as it sought to stamp out an in­sur­rec­tion.

They also ac­cused the Ka­muina Ns­apu mili­tia of killing hun­dreds of peo­ple, de­stroy­ing four vil­lages and at­tack­ing church prop­erty in a cam­paign to drive out central gov­ern­ment troops. No one was avail­able to com­ment from the mili­tia or Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo’s army, which has dis­missed ac­cu­sa­tions of ex­ces­sive force in the past.

The church’s re­port will carry con­sid­er­able weight in a coun­try where about 40% of the pop­u­la­tion iden­ti­fies as Catholic.

Fight­ing surged in Ka­sai last Au­gust when the army killed a chief who had been call­ing for gov­ern­ment forces to quit the re­gion, say­ing it should be left to lo­cal lead­ers. Reuters

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