Hundreds gather as DR Congo buries 27 massacre victims

Mourners gathered in silence around the Oicha morgue, near the Ugandan border and east of the DRC town of Beni
Hundreds gather as DR Congo buries massacre victims

The DR Congo town of Oicha on Friday buried 27 victims of the latest massacre in the sprawling country’s east, with hundreds paying homage to the dead.

Mourners gathered in silence around the Oicha morgue, near the Ugandan border and east of the DRC town of Beni, the scene of repeated deadly attacks.

Workers wore face masks as they wrapped the corpses in shrouds. Wooden crosses marked the graves and many wept as the bodies were lowered.

During the mass funerals, gunfire broke out from the nearby bush but it was unclear who was firing.

The victims had been hacked to death with machetes on Wednesday, taking to 107 the number of people killed in and around Beni since November 5.

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The vast majority of the killings have been allegedly carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militia that has plagued the Democratic Republic of Congo’s east since the 1990s.

The massacres have sparked protests against the local United Nations peacekeeping mission, known by its acronym MONUSCO.

Meanwhile, a general shutdown was observed in Goma, the main city in DRC’s east, in solidarity with the beleaguered residents of Beni and Oicha.

The UN refugee agency said there has been an exodus of locals from Oicha to Beni, about 30 kilometres away.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees on Friday announced that among other things”… alarming reports from the region suggest people being trapped and under threat from the armed groups, with daily reports of loss of life.”

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Abductions and attacks on schools, health centres and indigenous communities are also on the rise.

Information remains difficult to verify, as the movement of humanitarian workers is restricted due to insecurity around the city and in the territory of Beni, as a result of violence.”


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