Conflict & Justice

More violence in Congo

This is a town the rebels have controlled for years with an iron fist. The quasi mayor says the rebels are angry at the government for failing to protect minority groups in eastern Congo, specifically the Tutsis. This man was a member of a militia made up mostly of Rwandan Hutus. Its leaders are accused or participating in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and they fled to Congo after the fighting and have been terrorizing the Congolese ever since. Even in the name of protection, many say the rebels have come too far. This is a U.N. for demobilized soldiers where militiamen can come to lay down their arms and begin reintegrating into civilian life, but today there are more than just soldiers here. This boy is 13 and a week and a half ago he was outside his school when four armed rebels showed up and led all the boys onto trucks and took them away. The boy ran before the soldiers could catch him and he ended up at this base. This boy however was captured a year ago and was forced to work as a porter for the rebels. The first time he tried to escape, he was bound and gagged. A few months later he did manage to escape and he says he'll be killed if he ever returns home. Such forced recruitment has increased dramatically in the past few months, and this U.N. spokesman says the rebels are mostly to blame. But rebel leaders like this man deny allegations of forced recruitments. It seems to be civilians who are paying the highest price.

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