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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Cannibalism Confirmed: Congo Militiamen Grilled and Boiled Alive Victims, U.N. Says

Tampa Bay Online - AP: Congo Militiamen Grilled and Boiled Alive Victims, U.N. Says

Excerpt - KINSHASA, Congo (AP) - Militiamen grilled bodies on a spit and boiled two girls alive as their mother watched, U.N. peacekeepers charged Wednesday, adding cannibalism to a list of atrocities allegedly carried out by one of the tribal groups fighting in northeast Congo.

The commander of U.N. forces in Congo, Gen. Patrick Cammaert, presented a report on abuses allegedly committed by the Patriotic Resistance Front of Ituri.

"Those responsible for atrocities will be brought to justice," Cammaert said.

Peacekeepers have also begun working to cut off weapons supplies to the group, which apparently entered the country from neighboring Uganda, he said.

Members of the group were suspected of killing nine U.N. peacekeepers in a Feb. 25 ambush. On March 1, gunmen fired on Pakistani peacekeepers and the peacekeepers fought back, killing up to 60 fighters, U.N. officials said at the time.

Congo became a battleground for six nations during a 1998-2002 war that killed some 50,000 people directly and another 3 million through strife-induced hunger and disease. But sporadic fighting continues between militiamen, rebels and government troops in the lawless northeast.

The fighting there is killing thousands every month and has made it the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said in Geneva on Wednesday.

The allegations of cannibalism in the U.N. report were from a summary of testimony from witnesses gathered over a year from hundreds of people who had been kidnapped by militias in the region. The report said that some victims were killed by torture and decapitation. Those not killed were held in labor camps and forced to work as fishermen, porters, domestic workers and sex slaves.

"Several witnesses reported cases of mutilation followed by death or decapitation," the report said.

The U.N. report included an account from Zainabo Alfani in which she said she was forced to watch rebels kill and eat two of her children in June 2003.

The report said, "In one corner, there was already cooked flesh from bodies and two bodies being grilled on a barbecue and, at the same time, they prepared her two little girls, putting them alive in two big pots filled with boiling water and oil."

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Hard Comment: This is not new news, reports of Cannibalism in Congo have been reported for the last 3 years.

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