Disturbing images from the Congo reveal the impact of civil war
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/28/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
The Congo is one of the most troubled states in the world. The massive, central African country is home to dozens of ethnic groups and even more local militias, some of which are large and well-equipped and others which are small, but equally terrifying. The Daily Mail recently shared some images depicting the troubled situation there.
Congolese rebels train for their inevitable clashes.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the world's most troubled countries with internal violence spanning decades. Historians and political scientists can debate who is most to blame, be it the Belgians who occupied the area well over a century ago, or the clash of rivals within the country. Regardless, the situation for the civilian population is horrific.
Refugees flee an outbreak of violence in the remote, eastern part of the country.
Many young boys join militias, especially in rural areas where government control is weakest. There are literally dozens of militias, all of which tend to be fairly well-armed and supplied. These militia units, as a matter of course, rove the countryside, taking what they demand from the people.
Occasionally they clash with other militias or government forces, but by and large they prefer to prey on weaker, unarmed civilians. In addition to theft, rape is common, as well as killings where people resist or fail to please in some way.
Government soldiers celebrate as they approach a militia stronghold in an effort to defeat the infamous M-23 rebels.
For civilians, the choice is stark. Either flee and become a refugee, or remain in place and risk repeated victimization. Peace isn't an option.
Children play in sprawling refugee camp. Life in such places has become routine, possibly permanent.
The UN has a mission there, and UN forces are permitted to engage militia groups, but clashes remain rare and the UN is unwilling to bear the brunt of conflict with the militias. This leaves the UN to distribute aid, some of which invariably ends up in the wrong hands, and militias to operate with impunity.
A refugee looks out of his makeshift tent.
The world has little interest in Congo and what happens there, so it is unlikely that any changes are near for the people who are so often victimized by roving bands of thugs.
Government forces depart a position amid a torrential downpour.
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