Grim reminder why the DRC still needs UN peacekeepers

Reports that the Lord’s Resistance Army carried out a brutal massacre against men, women and children in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s north-eastern Orientale province last December have been today refuted by the rebel group.

Jonathan Clayton’s piece in today’s Times describes how at least 321 people from Makombo were killed and hundreds were abducted by the LRA during one of the “worst massacres” carried out by that rebel group.  

The Times reports how the majority of the men killed were tied up, some bound to trees, before being hacked to death with machetes or having their skulls crushed with axes. This horrific report is one of the worst attacks to emerge from conflict-beleaguered DRC in a long while.

In response to this news, Alan Doss – head of the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC told the BBC that ‘a new strategy was needed to prevent further LRA massacres’.

Currently there are not many MONUC peacekeepers based in the areas where the LRA operates.

Whether the LRA accepts responsibility for last December’s massacre or not, what does remain clear is that the DRC remains a particularly destabilised country which still needs a robust UN Peacekeeping force.

And these reports serve as a tragic reminder as to why Amnesty remains staunchly opposed to any potential withdrawal or reduction of MONUC peacekeepers from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

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