Human rights group reports 680 deaths in massacres in eastern Congo

Unidentified attackers have killed at least 680 civilians in a series of massacres in eastern Congo over the past two years, Human Rights Watch said Friday.

A large presence of Congolese army soldiers and United Nations peacekeepers in the region have not prevented at least 120 attacks in Beni territory, where assailants “methodically hacked people to death with axes and machetes or shot them dead,” according to the human rights group.

“After two years of brutal killings, many people in Beni live in fear of the next attack and have all but lost hope that anyone can end the carnage,” said Ida Sawyer from HRW.

The attacks have been blamed on the Ugandan armed group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), one of the dozens of militias operating in eastern Congo.

But HRW said its research pointed to “the involvement of other armed groups and certain Congolese army officers in planning and carrying out some of these attacks.”

"It is not true that Congolese people have lost hope and faith in the government ... because the army is doing everything to ensure that all people living in [Congo] enjoy peace," government spokesman Lambert Mende told dpa by phone.

Mende blamed the massacres on “radical Islamists or jihadists.”

The ADF claims to have an Islamist ideology, but analysts say ideologies often serve as an excuse for armed groups vying for control over territory and mineral resources in the region.

Last update: Fri, 07/10/2016 - 18:16

More from World

Watchdog: Over 60 per cent of east Aleppo captured by Syrian regime

More than 60 per cent of the rebel enclave of eastern Aleppo has now fallen to Syrian government forces, a...

Nine dead, 25 missing after fire at California warehouse party

At least nine people died and 25 were missing after a fire broke out during a party at a warehouse in the US state...

Car bombing in Baghdad kills at least four, injures 10

A car bomb exploded Saturday in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, killing at least four civilians, police and witnesses...

Egypt's top court revokes police power on protests

Egypt's top court has quashed power granted to police to ban street protests.

Indonesian police release seven accused of treason

Indonesian police on Saturday released seven people, including two former generals and a rock star, a day after they...